2018 and the first half of 2019 went by like a blur for me. I had so many incredible things going on, but very few of them actually involved my horse, Herbie. It was a pretty big shift from the previous years, which we filled with lots of work, riding growth and chasing competition dreams. In 2019, there were months where I felt lucky to see my sweet boy more than once or twice.
My focus had to change quite a bit: I was juggling a busy job, building my dream business on the side, planning a wedding and hustling for every extra dollar to put in the ever-growing wedding budget. Not to mention picking up my life and moving to a new state with my new husband! Sometimes it felt like I was being pushed along on some whirlwind timeline with no way to slow down.
It’s a struggle I know so many equestrians face...and I felt the all-too familiar guilt when the demands of “normal” life kept me away from the barn. And while I wouldn’t trade all of those magical moments of 2019 for anything, I still couldn’t help but feel like I was missing a big chunk of my heart.
Herbie’s not the same horse as he was in past years, either. He’s older and way out of shape, and I struggle to not get discouraged when I think of the work required just to get us back to our old Square One.
At the same time, my heart knows that time wasn’t wasted. I pushed myself. I grew. I traveled. I married the love of my life. I have so many moments from this year that I wouldn’t trade for anything.
The whirlwind came to a lurching halt in late July. I found myself in a new state, with a new work routine, a new barn...but my same, sweet horse. It’s a new season in my life. And though I’m hard at work growing my photography business in a new state, I’m doing what I can to protect as much time for riding as possible.
We have a lot of work ahead of us. First to get back into shape, and then to build on where we left off. I’ve got great help, though, thanks to Renee Leggett and the rest of the awesome folks at TopNotch Performance Horses, and I can’t wait to soak up as much knowledge as I can. Herbie and I have plans to hit a show or two in 2020. Until then, though, I hope to simply enjoy the journey and this new season for us.
I brought my camera to the barn recently, and I snapped a few images after a particularly sweaty ride (fall weather can’t get here fast enough!); check out Herbie’s gorgeous new home!