Monday, January 25, 2016

This adventure we're on.

When I started my blog five years ago, Moon was brand new to my life. Sometimes I can't believe it's been just five years. Do you remember me back then?? I was a twenty-something year old, fairly new in the real world, working a real job and feeling my way through a real career. Learning what it meant to own a horse.

I moved Moon from the place I bought him, to a boarding stable, to a friend's boarding stable. Now I'm counting down the months until I move him home. We still have some work to finish (building his run-in, dividing the fenced pasture so I can rotational graze), but it's happening.

This weekend our barn girls got together and rode 6 or 7 miles into the park down snow covered paths, and stopped at a warming shelter where we roasted hot dogs and marshmellows. We laughed. We joked with snowmobilers who were out sharing the trails with us. Moon stood tried to a log not caring about a thing, snowmobiles whipping past, laughter, saddle bags strapped to his flank, his halter hanging down off the saddle.

Many, many miles...

This is, should be, another regular day in our lives. In the last five years of our lives together. This was the season when he officially became mine. This spring will mark six years from when we met. He was 11. This May he'll be 17 years old. That's that turning point from young spry horse to headed towards old man. My fellow riders who were out were riding 21 and 23 year old horses, and talking about how they were ready to retire. That's just four years difference between Moon and one of them, and yet he feels eons younger. Moon was still spunky and eager and moving quickly through the deep snow. I could tell he wanted to canter and trot and was having a blast. My horse is aging, I'm aging, but we don't feel old.

I think about how my little riders are getting older. 7 and 6 this year. And I'm super excited because they're ready to ride him more. They were riding alone in the ring this past fall, and they're only growing taller and stronger each year. Moon is 17. He's got so many miles still to give these kids. To give me. My friends have mostly all replaced their "old" horses with younger ones. Horses that were euthanized when they went unsound. Horses that are slower, sorer, weaker. There was a time when Moon was one of the young horses in the paddock, but now he's one of the old horses. Yet there he was, keeping up with no issue. Most days I still don't think he's going to be 17. He still races a 7 year old like it's no big deal.

If you're wondering where I'm going with all of this, it's that we're off on another adventure. Moon and I.

Parked at the warm-up shelter. Moon is such a good boy <3

Lemme step back quick and roll through the last couple years of my life...

Moon and I met, and it was fabulous. I fell in love with him and knew he was my heart horse.
That Christmas, I got him as a Christmas present, a huge gift from his old owner as she sold him to me at rock bottom price. Because she knew we were inseparable. I can never thank her enough.
We did some serious training with Coach W and competed. It was AWESOME. I'd never been so proud of my riding and my horse ever. We moved to H's place to be closer to the park for showing, and we really enjoyed our time.
Then I bought a horse trailer and completed refurbished it. Time to travel!
Except my 9 year relationship ended. Abruptly. This meant no truck, huge life changes and moving to an apartment. Getting approved to build a house.
But I fell in love again. With an incredible man. That next summer we built a fabulous home in the country. The next spring, he asked me to be his wife. His forever. It was hands down a yes.
We had a year and a half engagement, which included a huge DIY wedding at the end of last fall. We fenced in our horse pasture to get ready to move Moon home for the summers. The husband left his job to persue a new career and returned to school for a year.

And that's now. Is that not a crazy 5 years??

Cowgirl [Photo by Dave Andrew Photography]

Well it's about to get crazier.

Hubs and I are expecting our first child in August. We're over the moon. Ha.

That means all next summer when Moon is home?? I'll be home too :) How young can you start kids riding?? I have a feeling ours will be seeing a lot of pony before its first birthday <3

I know that when I see blogs I've been following, suddenly start the "kid" banner, I always wonder "Does that mean riding takes a back seat??"

I don't know the answer. I do know that while I've blogged less in the recent years, and that I haven't had the same time for riding as I used to, Moon is still very much a part of my life. I'm at the barn feeding and looking after him at least once a week, every week. I'm still out riding about once a week. I still get awesome trail rides with my barn buddies. I don't plan on letting all of that slide away now. But part of that, is moving him home. Where it's a five minute walk out my backdoor to see him. Where caring for him every day is MY responsibility. Where I can learn with him >thisclose< how to get away on him with a child at home. It learning a schedule and routine that works with the husband and baby.

I guess you could say I'm excited for the challenge. My life has evolved to be so much more then riding, but it's so much more focused on our farm. This is our forever. When Moon becomes our childrens' horse in five or six years, it'll be time to expand the place. It's about getting him used to new livestock, from chickens to goats. New paddocks. Learning about rotational grazing. How many serpentines you can get in before the baby wakes up. How much food you can grow in your own backyard. Can you actually put a horse stall attached to your garage??

It's a different kind of horse life coming. But it's a much more integrated horse life. It's time for me, in my life, to bring horses home. He's not this thing AWAY from where I am, but a piece of where we are.

Because even our wedding was just another piece of our backyard adventure...[Photo by Dave Andrew Photography]

I never had the privileged as a kid to live with horses. Actually, my first three years of life we had horses right next door, and maybe that's what made me fall in love? I want our kids to have that horse infused life. And a farm infused life. Picking eggs from the coop, eating vegetables straight from the garden, riding horses like an idiot through a field.

In the world we live in today, I feel like having Moon at home and learning to make him a part of our daily life, is a huge life lesson for me in being a parent. Because horses are unpredictable and dangerous and scary and magical and freeing and teaching.

I want to raise independent children. I want them to wander the woods by our home, exploring and adventuring. Making up tales in their heads. Creating a world that they can entertain themselves in. I want them to learn to respect animals, and value the creatures in their lives. I want them to learn that some risks end badly. Some risks are worth taking. That perseverance makes you get further in life. That you're not fed by a plastic card and a bulk store. You're fed by a hell of a lot of hard work, hours in the sun and sweat. That the rewards of this, are a life like we have. That your mama and your papa have worked really hard to reach where they are in life, and that means some rewards they get and you don't. That strength is built, not born.

Because country is our life [Wedding Photo by Dave Andrew Photography]

I guess to some extent, I want our children to live the life that I remember living, but with the added perk of the horses in your dreams being real. And never, ever, taking that for granted.

I think it's gonna be a lot of learning. How do you control the desire to give your kids the chance you wish you had, to ride and show and compete and own a horse at such a young age?? To do hockey and gymnastics and eighteen other sports, when you know they'll grow so much more from being sent loose in to the backyard to make their own adventures?

Enjoying a post-ride snack <3

Where am I going with all of this?? It's to say that we're off on a new great adventure, and I can't wait to share it. I can't wait to experience it, and I can't wait for Moon to be part of it.