So as part of being a well-rounded, doesn’t-know-how-to-have-free-time-anymore mom (as so many of us are) I work 5 nights a week at a barn, owned by one of my absolute dearest friends.
It helps cover the cost of the oldest getting to ride horses. I decided I wanted to ‘give’ her horses when she was about 4 – due to some horrible circumstances I’ll relate at a later date.
But funnily enough – it’s give me as many lessons as it’s given her I think.
We’ll do a few of these series, but here are the first 5.
- Quiet time can be healing. There’s nothing like one of these deliciously silent moments – alone on 90 acres with the horses to slow you down. And it’s in those moments my true processing happens. I bet most barn/farm folks would tell you they work out more problems clearing fence, shoveling stalls or feeding than they ever could on a therapist’s couch.
- Everything (including and especially horses) has a mind of its own. We all have plans for our days, weeks, years, lives. And those plans frequently go awry – at the barn, if you’re not prepared for the unexpected, well – you’ll make it up as you go along – because there’s no putting off a sick horse, broken fence or busted well pump – you have contingency plans in place and you learn to roll with the other stuff and make do. Learning to be flexible at the barn and in life is huge and freeing.
- Loss is part of life. I understand that we all know this inherently. But I’ve said goodbye to more influential horses in the past 3 years than I have people in my life. You learn to love hard and in a timely fashion because sickness can hit hard and fast. Carry it over to your human interaction and you have a pretty good plan in place.
- Getting dirty is good. If you’ve mucked stalls or dumped buckets and you’re not a little dirty, well, you’re not doing it right. (And we’re probably going to gripe about the quality of your stall picking.) Get in – get dirty – dig deep – relish in it – wade through the mud – there’s satisfaction on the other side. This goes equally for paddocks and office jobs. Roll those sleeves up and get to it.
- The ability to laugh at yourself is mandatory. Laugh at yourself, frequently and hard. Belly laugh. Even though it hurts like the dickens, the best way to get over feeling stupid for whacking your head on a stall door in front of 5 other people is to laugh at it. Have fun as often as you can, because there is too often in this life that you just can’t.