I love stories. Everyone has one. I find something especially beautiful in the relationships we share with our horses. Each partnership is entirely unique yet universally understood by fellow equestrians. Blessings, challenges, big dreams and little moments—they all combine into an incredible story that leave a rider forever changed.
I love learning, capturing and telling your stories, so I thought I’d share mine, too.
I had ice cream in my hair. Again.
It was also on my shirt, my pants, my arms—flecks of dairy, sugar and toppings that flew from the blender and stuck to me long after my shift was done at the local Dairy Queen. I was stressed from school, tired from studying and covered in gunk.
Like a human Blizzard.
And like said trademark treat, it sometimes felt like life had flipped me upside down in midair...just to see if I'd miraculously hang on or completely fall apart into a melting mess on the floor.
But the grime and gunk and exhaustion would fade away when I turned the key to my truck and rumbled away from campus, headed to the barn.
For all the reasons I mentioned before, I like to call Herbie the best bad decision of my college career. It shouldn't have worked. But it did.
That's not to say there weren't sacrifices: I skipped parties and outings for cleaning stalls and grooming sessions. Work shifts took priority over joining clubs and attending meetings. And time I probably (definitely) should have spent studying was used scouring the internet for training tips.
It wasn't the typical college experience by any means. Sometimes, when I think of missed fun, clubs I could have joined or possible friends I could have made, I wonder if it was the right choice.
To sacrifice such a key, short time in life for a little red horse.
But then I remember...
The relief of leaving campus for that sawdust-scented barn paradise.
Of seeking comfort in his presence, leaning on his shoulder and listening to his steady sighs.
Of working out life's problems one curry stroke at a time.
His mane soaking up tears when friendships and relationships ended.
Feeling like I belonged, that I mattered, instead of a single face in a crowd of 40,000+
And the pride of making training breakthroughs that far outweighed any test score or paper grade (sorry, mom).
And all that ... was well worth the things I gave up.