This April, I sent my horse home to her owner because my year lease was up. She is my heart horse and I adored every second that we got to spend together. Luckily, her owner is my trainer and good friend, so I know she is living her best life at home. Nevertheless, loading her up onto the trailer, knowing she wasn’t coming back to me was tough.
Carina’s leaving marked the, hopefully temporary, end to my riding career. Getting another lease or buying a horse is just not in the cards for me; This sport is expensive and I’m not made of money. So I had to make a difficult choice… horses or college. There wasn’t money for both and I was forced to give up my riding. Since I didn’t have the funding to have a horse of my own, my progress became stagnant. And as someone that uses progress as a gauge of self-worth, I grew frustrated very quickly. Honestly, I stopped riding and have only ridden once since I left Carina in Wellington. I miss it every day, but what’s worse, missing it or growing to resent it because of frustration? Though I didn’t like either option, missing it was the lesser of two evils.
The question that seemed to haunt me most was “Who Am I Now?”. Horses were my identity for so long and I was empty without it. The depression set in soon after as well. Almost every night, I was crying myself to sleep because of it. I caught myself looking through old photos and videos more times than I could count, trying to relive those moments again and again. To be honest, I was in an incredibly dark place. The only times I was out of the house was to run an errand or go to work.
Soon after Carina went home, I started helping one of the kiddos I nanny with her pony hunter when her trainers were away at shows. Every day I try to teach her something new, whether she is on the ground or in the saddle. Anything from learning how to braid to medical care is fair game. They have made such wonderful progress and I am super proud of them.
As an honorary pony mom and stand-in trainer, I have gained a way to be around horses. Though I may not be riding, I still get to be involved in the sport that I adore. Carina is now teaching another person all the lessons that she taught me under the guidance of my trainer. I miss her every day, but all I want for her is to be loved and happy and I know that she is being given top notch care in every aspect.
So what’s next for me? I don’t really know. Hopefully horses will continue to be a part of it in some aspect, but for now, I’m taking it day by day, focusing on finding happiness. To fill my time, I’m traveling and learning to toss around the lacrosse ball with my boyfriend. Here’s to all happy times, horses or not.
Until next time preps,