In review, 2016 was full of massive amounts of change for me and my family. I will say that for the most part it has been great. Yet, at the same time I’m feeling driven to give a more transparent look at what my experience has been as a riding parent. It is easy to focus on the good parts, which I do 90% of the time.
There was the day that my baby finally figured out how to properly pet Dee without scaring her half to death, or poking an eyeball. The summer mornings where I had fantastic rides while my child sat happily cooing in the shade feeding the barn cats. Nights like tonight where my kid, with a very limited vocabulary, said as clear as day “hi Dee Dee” to the little mare before my lesson.
I have a very tolerant spouse, local
baby slaves family available and a very, very tolerant barn family (including the horses). All of these things make it possible for me to continue riding the way I want to. But. That does not mean it’s easy. People at the barn comment on how happy my baby is at the barn, and that I’m such a relaxed mother…
Truth be told? I am constantly stressing. I stress about people judging my decisions, I stress that my little girl might set off someone else’s horse. I stress about my husband shouldering too much. I stress about her getting hurt because of my choices. It can be suffocating.
And then let’s talk about pushing a stroller, leading a horse, and carrying a diaper bag during our barn trips. I mean some days managing it all is oppressive. Some days it does not seem worth it. So when a barn mom told me a few days ago that she was impressed with my ability to deal with it all, I found myself laughing and saying, “…it’d be so easy to quit”. I think my answer surprised both her and myself, but it was the honest truth. Right now, riding 3 days a week is all I can manage without my head exploding, and sometimes 3 days makes my head explode. Life would be so, so much simpler if I wasn’t riding. Which is scary. But in someways very clarifying. I know exactly where my limit is.
But for transparency’s sake, I will tell you that even remembering all the good parts, just so I could type them in this post, makes me tear up. Some days it will be too hard. And yes, I could quit. Yet, for now, I want to focus on the fact that I get the opportunity to share my favorite thing, with my favorite little person. Watching her love what I love (as much as a toddler loves anything), keeps me going.