Wednesday, January 5, 2022

The blog returns….. Horses and Winter a question of Career choice

Back a few years (seems like an eternity) I frequently blogged. There was no real reason other than I wanted to. I looked back and realized that my last real blog was in 2017, hmmmm then it hit me what had changed! I got this crazy idea to turn the farm, my then part time passion, into a full time career. That is when the true crazy began June 2018. The leap of faith to do what I felt I was called to do. Introduce others to my addiction, hmmmm I mean passion, Horses, and all the crazy that it brings.  Since then it has been a whirlwind of growth, change, failures, successes, and everything in between. The struggle is real folks, I’m not kidding. If Mother Nature is kind then I love horses from around March until mid December. From mid December until March I constantly want to have my head examined. I mean really who chooses to leave climate control in the winter to go slog through the mud after two days of cold wet rain?? I’m telling you it’s an addiction, that’s the only real explanation. Sure it’s legal, somewhat healthy for you if you count all the calories you burn chases horses, fixing fence, lugging hay, dumping feed into the bins, let’s not forget mucking stalls. I mean two constants with horses, eating and pooping. I will say my health meter on my phone went from roughly 12k steps to over 30k per day. I think I saw it blip up with a WTH message one day when I reached over 40k. Did I mention I’m in NC where the weather goes from T-shirt’s 70+ degrees to 38 degrees with wind, 4 layers of clothes and your still freezing from one day to the next? I swear if one more horse drags off one more blanket this winter they will all be in time out. Not only did I choose this life I am dragging others into the horse cult with me….. You get a horse, you get a horse, oh you need two horses, you get the idea. I mean for some it is so bad they are buying farms of their own, I mean really they see what me and my JHF crew go through and still think YEAH let’s do that. I want to work 7 days a week and never really go on another vacation. I tell you horses know! Those F’ers know if I am pulling out of the driveway for more than a tractor supply run to pick up their favorite treats. You let me be gone more than 12 hours, “let the games begin.” I promise you I will get a text from the poor unfortunate soul (usually Brooke) that is holding down the fort and the horses spidey senses go into overdrive. “She’s gone boys, time to cause havoc. Tommy you tear down the fence, Bob cut your leg, nothing major but enough so it swells, Nancy B how’s that hoof abscess coming? Are you good and lame? Fred and Spice “just do you” that is good for at least 3 phone calls, ok guys who wants to mildly colic? We need volunteers.”  I swear these horses plan it.  I know there are other farm owners who understand the struggle. It’s a full winter of riding roulette, because the weather fluctuations you never know what horse personality you are getting, hmmm are we getting old faithful steady eddy or are we getting Secretariat ready to relive the good ol days. Horse people really do need their heads examined, but then you have days where:

You drive down the driveway and every horse is grazing contently in the correct pasture.

The young horse you have been working with finally gets what you are asking and in just that moment all your training has paid off.

The riding student that was scared of horses 3 months earlier, but has always wanted to ride is walking out into the pasture full of horses to retrieve her lesson horse for the day. 

The 6 year old finally figures out the posting trot or hell the 60 year old for that matter.

You see a group of teenagers helping the younger kids tack up their horses. 

The teenagers are not being wellll teenagers, I mean it’s as rare as seeing a shooting star but it does happen

You see the 10 year old who has ridden since she could walk, show the adult beginner how to properly groom and pick out feet

You see a group of people from different backgrounds, lifestyles, tax brackets and ages, sharing their love of horses.

You walk through the barn and each horse sticks it’s head out to greet you.

You see the horse that once sold for 180k at the racetrack but retired with knee X-rays so bad they thought he would never recover now teaches students in your lesson program

The group of horses that retired from racing but have started their new journey into a second career

The lesson horse that has taught so many people to ride and has earned a well deserved retirement. 

The child who struggles with every day activities that come easy for most blossoms into a beautiful confident rider on the back of a horse.

The peace of just being near a horse brings to so many. 

Probably my favorite is in the late evening when the busy of the farm fades, their are no cars left in the drive and I am doing final check, this is when I know I have made the right choice. Just me and the horses quietly enjoying the peace of the darkness.  It’s in those moments I know it will all be ok.  The horses will still be plotting their next great calamity and I still REALLY hate winter but it will be ok.

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