"View the events you consider obstacles as perfect opportunities to test your resolve and find your purpose." --Dr. Wayne W. Dyer
It's easy to love horses when all the pieces are in place and you have a perfect set-up for them and your family. For several years, I had the blessings of living on large cattle ranches and having access to hundreds of acres of pasture, ample hay, shelter, and opportunities to ride with beautiful scenery all around or to train in roundpens and well-developed corrals. But, as most cowboys and their family know, the ranch does not belong to them and circumstances can change suddenly. In my part of the world, it's common practice that a cowboy that is losing their position has 30 days to relocate. That happened to us. 30 days is not enough time to wrench yourself away from the land you love - the home, the barn, the animals - and begin to regroup and rebuild. It had been our home for five years, the only home one my daughter can remember. One foot in front of the other.
A 900-square foot house in a town of 500 people and friends to help you move is where we started. Friends offered room for your saddle horses on a section with their bucking string 5 miles away. Jobs at the grocery store and at the sawmill came long. One foot in front of the other.
My kids need 4H and their animals. Grandparents invest in 2 acres to give us space for the animals but we can’t build a permanent structure or dig a well. My dad and husband fence the land. Finally, our horses come to town. We haul water 2 times a week. We haul hay and we feed hay. Our horse trailer breaks down. We ride to the arena so my daughter can practice for the shows. Making it to the 4H fair seems like the biggest accomplishment ever. It is my victory; the ribbons and the placings are for the kids. One foot in front of the other.
It has been 2 years. It is still a struggle to hold onto our horses and our rural way of life. I had hoped we would be farther down the road than we are. I still wonder if we will be able to hold on, to keep our horses, and to pass on some of the values we hold dear about being close to the land and our animals. My resolve is tested when the water is frozen, my bank account is low, and the wind scatters precious hay. I have discovered my purpose is to hold on, especially to those I love, whether they walk on two legs or trot on four.