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.
The map was pristine. The final product of many drafts, it charted out every detail of the 14-hour haul from Lafayette, Indiana, to Fort Worth, Texas. The Google Maps printout (a smartphone was one of those aforementioned sacrifices) bore my ideal route, and it was dotted with overnight boarding—plus backup options—at exactly halfway, hotels, food options and scheduled rest stops. It sat inside a brand new binder, along with a thorough list of contact info for every stop along the way, Herbie's health certificates and travel emergency tips. I'd planned for everything—nothing was going to go wrong.
I'd graduated from Purdue just two weeks earlier, and the trek to Texas was only intended to be a minor detour on Rachel's Big Post-Graduation Life Plan. I'd just stop there for an exciting summer internship, then I'd be on my way to start my real life in Colorado. I'd planned that life out perfectly, too.
It was a foggy, early morning when I opened my little two-horse trailer's doors to load Herbie up for our big adventure. The roadmap sat in the front seat of my rusty Dodge pickup, while the rest of the cab, bed and half of the trailer was loaded down with hay, tack, saddles, clothes, must-haves and mementos. In that moment, uprooting everything I knew felt as simple as picking out the properly sized rubbermaid. I said tearful goodbyes to my mom and friends, then rumbled down the driveway and toward my future.
Poor Herbie didn't know what he was in for; I think he assumed we were just going down the road for a lesson—not a multi-day haul—because he looked awfully bewildered when we first stopped for water! I swear he's eyed me with suspicion every time I've loaded him up since.
Surprise, surprise: the journey wasn't exactly as pristine as my map. My breaks were spaced too far apart. Herbie didn't want to drink, and it got hotter than we thought; we stopped more than we planned. We got lost. The truck overheated. Twice, at least. Then, it momentarily died less than a mile from the new barn in Texas.
Three or more hours behind scheduled, my truck and trailer limped into the drive at Hidden Star Farm in Roanoke. My map—once carefully placed in a protective binder sheet—was crumpled and stained on the floor of the cab. I felt the same way. Life's message about best-laid plans was loud and clear.
Sadly (that's debatable), I don't have any photos of this big life event. I'm not sure I'd like to remember the chaos of that trip any further than this blog, though!