Reposted from Coffee and Porn in the Morning.
My daughter has been on horses since she was three and some friends of ours put her on the back of a Percheron (bareback). She was scared of flies, but she’d wander around these huge horses’ legs like she was in the safest place in the world, and she let Chip lead her around with nothing to hold onto but the horse’s mane. When we stopped going up to Minnesota every few months in 2007, she burst out crying about how much she missed riding horses, and it was the kind of cry that came from her soul. It got my attention, and I looked up “horse riding lessons in Ames.” I found her a barn, she started taking lessons, and she’s been at it ever since.
At first all we had to buy was boots, but then came johdpurs, then chaps, then a helmet of her own because she didn’t have one at a show, then a shirt and jacket so she could look sharp. We caught a break there for awhile when all we had to do was buy new pants and boots and recently a sweat-wicking shirt. We started leasing lesson horses last fall, and in January we started leasing a teacher’s former racehorse, and this month we did our first “free lease,” which isn’t free at all because we pay all board and vet fees for him now.
This week we found out the barn is foreclosed by the bank, and we have two weeks to get out. What I’ve learned about horse people is that they’re family to each other, and it’s been a hard, hard week at Canterbrooke. We’re going to a temporary home at a rather rudimentary barn (no viewing area. I have no idea what allergy-riddled me will do while Anna rides) until a new barn is finished that’s more our speed in November. Yesterday I dropped over $650 in tack, because we’ll need our own now (though I got a great deal on a Passier saddle she’ll use forever), and starting in November I have to come up with full board at a rather posh stable that’s a bit of a drive away. I’m thinking of printing new business cards: please buy my books so I can support my child’s horse habit.
A lot of people wonder why I do it, because it truly is right at the edge of what we can afford. They figure Anna could just go do something else. It’s true, she could. What they don’t know is how much working with a horse heals my anxiety-riddled daughter. She who can barely stay overnight at a friend’s house is out at the barn right now cleaning and organizing her tack with almost nobody there (though that probably changed since I dropped her off). She’s been bucked off horses and gotten back on, but you can’t get her on a roller coaster. I can’t get her to bring her dirty dishes to the kitchen without melting down in frustration, or hang up her towel, or empty her lunchbox, but she cleans up not just her horse’s messes and the stable’s tack but cleans up after other people who thought their mother was coming by later. With horses, my baby thrives.
Hopefully with the next few royalty checks I can buy my baby’s baby outright so that he will be hers alone. I gave up my cleaning service and Starbucks and some of my book budget for board, and that horse tack is what was going to be extra swag for GayRomLit. I sit in that barn for hours and hours even though it makes me sick because of all the allergens.
Look at this picture below and tell me it’s not worth it.