I’ve been riding since I was very young. My Dad rode me around the show arena, in his arms when I was 10 days old. Needless to say, horses are very familiar to me. I grew up with them, showed them, trail rode and camped with them. Raised them, trained them and have not lived much of life without a horse. I have raised four children and they all ride. I have four beautiful grandchildren, and guess what? They ride, too! We all camp together, show together, perform barn chores together. We hang out at the barn and discuss family issues. Not until I got much older did I realize what a huge impact they’ve had on my life and what a huge role they have played in keeping my family together.
In 2008 we began giving riding lessons. Children from all walks of life come and take lessons. We eventually decided to start a camp 2 weeks out of the year for kids. It has been a huge success and the children love it. We have witnessed just how much a horse can change a life. We have kids come and their parents say, “Now sometimes he just won’t behave, you just let me know and I’ll take care of it this afternoon.” Never, once have I had to report anyone to their parents. When the children are working with the horses they are on another planet. Somewhere where respect, giving, and receiving is the rule. No questions asked, it just is. They respect the horses and in return the horses respect them. In the afternoon when it is time to go home. Parents often wonder if we are just covering for them. No way! They are too busy and involved to be side tracked with misbehavior and disrespect.
One young lady has been through some very tragic events in her young life. Her Grandmother conveyed to me that after she started riding her therapist stated, ”I don’t know what you are doing but keep it up!” She is still riding and has turned into a beautiful, confident, young teenager.
Many of these kids would not get the chance to rub a horse, much less ride one. This opportunity has made me so grateful and helped me to realize how blessed my family is to share our lives with horses!
My point is this. If you are blessed enough to own a horse, be grateful. In these winter months, it gets pretty easy to become frustrated, cold and tired. Sometimes I wonder if I have lost my mind? Then the days grow longer, the sunshine seems brighter and it’s that time of year for lessons to begin again. The kiddos and their families start coming back out to our farm and once again, I am reminded, just how rich my life is. I am so thankful God chose this family to share our love and dedication to horses with other people.