There are times when all of us as horse owners, parents of kids who ride, or equestrians ourselves, ask, what would we do if we didn’t have this all consuming sport and commitment?
I saw my friend Dee bring it up on Facebook this week-she talked about kitchen make-overs (she is I suspect-a good cook who would love to have a great new kitchen). But Dee quickly dismissed the idea by saying-wait we have horses; we can’t have a new kitchen. Lauren and I talked about what the family used to do on Memorial Day weekends before she was born. I told her we used to go to the lake (in Missouri-it was Smithville Lake or Lake of the Ozarks). We had access to a boat from Dave’s folks and spent many weekends on the water. A lot of my family had places at the lake in Oklahoma as well. I remember bright days with my cousins learning to ski at Lake Eufala. I suspect here inTexas if there were no horses, we might have a place at Somerville or Lake Travis.
It wouldn’t be fancy- but there might be some jet skis or a boat. There would be great family times, hot, summer days and long summer nights spent with friends. I remember the days at the lake fondly and wish there was a way to do both. But there is not, not now.
I think the one regret I have of Six Meadow Farm is that it has gotten to be so much. Yesterday I enjoyed my solitude but was a little overwhelmed by the end of evening (and a little short with the cats and dogs-yes, I was yelling at them all) because I was hot and tired. I was yelling at a tiny Yorkshire terrier-really inappropriate.
The horse life that I am living along with so many of my friends is rewarding and demanding. The show schedules take up most weekends. When there is a weekend without a show, you need to catch up on barn chores. It is hard to have outside interests. I am sure my daughters Amber and Ally feel at times they are second to the horses. The horses demand immediate and intense actions. I have hung up on my daughters to care for my animals way too many times.
Those of us with our own places feel it the most. The majority of us work fulltime outside our lives as barn managers. We are gone all day. We work hard at our “regular job”. We have that competitive spirit and it spills over into all aspects of our lives. We want to do it all well.
Not as a call to feel sorry for me or what I have chosen to do but as an example, instead of getting up, going to work and coming home, cooking, eating, watching a little tv or doing some computer work, the horse people with outside jobs, must do all those things and care for the animals as well. Most of us are not content to have just horses, but have scores of cats and dogs as well. It is a choice. It is a choice we are lucky to have made. In the winter it is cold, muddy and darkness falls early. In the summer, it is hot, miserable and darkness (and the cool it brings) never seems to come.
I think my friend Gaylyn has had three evenings away from her place in the last two years. On those three nights she came home but we went over to feed the animals because they would be gone during feeding time. She has not been on vacation away from home that I am aware since they moved there. That is nuts. Lauren and I have not been gone at the same time in the evening or overnight except once-for one evening at a horse show in the last few years. We did go on a week’s vacation this year but that took military precision planning to accomplish.
So, I guess no lake house is in our future. We have chosen our lot in life and reap the rewards. But there are those days when the memory of the still lake water makes you long for days gone by and choices made.