How Easy It Would Be

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.

img_4512

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.

with-pony

With her pony.

 

20 thoughts on “How Easy It Would Be

  1. I feel you on this one! I have 2 small children and a husband who works for the railroad so he has no schedule and is often out of town. It can be so hard to manage it all and some days I wonder if I am crazy. Some days go really well at the barn and others not so much! But my love for my family and my love for horses keeps me going. I think it is important to know what our limits are, but also know anything worthwhile takes effort and sacrifice. Best of luck to you!

  2. Thank you for being so brave and sharing this. I have felt this same way sometimes in the past year, I’m not a parent but supporting my horse family and my husband this past year when he was laid off… I had a few low moments where I was like “Why do I do this?! It’s so expensive and hard…and I’m not that good at it.” But then you have a particularly awesome ride and the universe cuts you a small break for once… and it all seems worth it. There are so many judgey horse people…I imagine other parents could be even worse. I think you are doing an amazing job at both! ❤

  3. Thank you so much for sharing this and being so honest! Many equestrians don’t have children, especially young children and it’s always a bit difficult for me to imagine the day-to-day. Any insight I can get is always really, really appreciated!!

  4. While not a mother myself, I definitely know that feeling of “it would be so easy to quit.” It’s a very clarifying feeling for sure. Sometimes it’s a defeating feeling, but other times actually reflecting on the idea is enough to remind me why I *dont* quit. I’m glad you’ve found ways to juggle the near-impossible so far!!

  5. Also not a mom, but as a fellow blogger and horse-lover, I just wanted to say I appreciate you taking the time to share this with all of us!
    I used to really contemplate selling my horse a few years back (he was young, he and I weren’t so bonded, and I had a lot of external pressure on me to sell him). But every time I’d get close I’d wind up just balling my eyes out. And that’s how I knew, that yeh – in some ways it’d be easier to leave the horse world, but in other ways it’d be like breaking my own heart.
    PS – ponies and babies = adorable

    • Yes, it’s so hard when you know leaving could be the easier route. But not if it hurts. I always say “this is my one thing” because it really is. It would be losing part of myself to change that!

  6. I agree with what others have said and hope you feel the solidarity of all of us agreeing that yeah, some days it’s be a lot easier to quit…but we don’t. And I think it’s because those good days are just really really good.

  7. I don’t have kids, but a friend of mine had a baby she regularly brought out to the barn. I don’t remember the details, but I do remember the car seat/baby carrier being in the heated viewing room. Also, a current friend (and she trains at the barn) has a one year old. She would teach 3 lessons in a row with baby in the Bjorn. Now that she’s over a year I think that’s not an option, but her daughter LOVES horses. Apparently she really responds to gray horses. Keep at it. This stage is fleeting. As my sister said when my niece and nephew were around 6 and 9, “They’re so easy now!”

    • Haha, I admit to loving that I could stick her in the Bjorn and carry her around the barn. Hopefully this spring/summer I can figure out a way to keep those little legs occupied NOT running into the ring. Otherwise though, I’m very lucky, she’s been a peach most days, and hopefully will only continue to have more fun there!

  8. I love this post! Although my daughter is now 32 (how can that be possible???), I clearly remember her as a 6 year old when we leased our first barn. It was so hard to explain that I was working when I was teaching – she saw it as paying attention to someone else – and as an only, it didn’t thrill her! Still – she has managed to survive, and now works full time at a barn, so no damage done 🙂

    And I totally get how easy it would be to just give it up. I teach therapeutic riding 5 afternoons a week, am a freelance writer the rest of the time, and struggle to make time to spend with my 27 year old Dutch Warmblood and 8 year old OTTB…. Carving out that time is definitely one of my priorities for 2017!

    Thank you so much for your openness and honesty!

  9. This makes so much sense. When Carter was tiny and napping at a consistent time for long stretches I’d just leave him in the car to nap while I rode. Then I felt the guilt of hubby having to watch him (but in reality try liked their guy time). Then when Pongo passed and there was no horse I floundered a bit and felt so free at the same time. With baby 2 coming in a few weeks I cannot wait to get back in the saddle. The 9 month break has been ok. But like you it’s going to be a 2-3 day a week lease at best to protect my sanity, my husband (2 under 2, ack!) and our checkbook! Thanks got your honesty, I’m right there with you and it makes a lot of sense why you don’t see a bunch of moms of young kids at the barns!

  10. Pingback: Celebrating Dee | A Gift Horse

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