The team at Dianne’s circa 2005-2006? Who do you recognize?
Everyone talks about not being able to go home again. That returning home never meets expectations or gives us the closure we need.
I discovered, quite by chance, that sometimes our home not a place we lived, not necessarily a time and place but it is that feeling of belonging, of peace and of family. So what am I rattling on about this time? Well, I took a visit “home” and was stunned by the depth of emotion I felt.
A couple of Sundays ago, we had agreed to take some of boarders and their horses to a little local show at the barn where Lauren really began riding.
In the days before Lauren trained with men with one syllable names, Dianne and her farm were where Lauren first headed once we arrived in Texas for riding lessons. Lauren had gotten Mickey in 2003 and it wasn’t long before we looked for a place for them to learn and show.
We spent several years there as Lauren made her way up from walk-trot through the Junior-Adult division. Lauren along with girls who are still her friends, including Caitlyn, Libby, Alex and Arianna, all rode here first.
We boarded horses there, Snowboy and Mickey. We also kept my horse Kid and big Cupid there. My mare Mariah, now owned by Caroline, started out with us there.
Lauren had her very first job while in junior high at this farm. On cold, dark winter nights and stifling hot summer days, Lauren helped other riders tack up. She was responsible for feeding and watering over 60 horses that resided there. It give some insight into the glamorous (not) horse industry.
Lessons were a big deal, both from the social aspect of what you were wearing versus your friends to the status of which lesson group were you in (i.e. how high did you get to jump). From my standpoint, firm, long standing friendships were built while watching hours of lessons go by.
In the pattern not unlike that of a panic attack, I cannot tell you what hit me first as I returned to Dianne’s farm. My feelings built slowly as I took in so much that was seemingly the same as the day I had left. Then the feelings multiplied rapidly as I saw, hugged and recognized my dear friends.
What took me tottering over the edge of emotional restraint and left me bordering on tears was walking into the farmhouse to discover pictures of Lauren and her friends, while faded and a little tattered, still adorning the walls. I held back emotional tears as I led our new riders around to see young Lauren and Caitlyn, mini Libby, Alex so tiny, and fragile looking Arianna- yet so mighty.
As I walked around the farm, revisiting my old horse Mac, still so well cared for and looking great in his late 20’s, tears caught in my throat several times. Memories danced behind my eyes, seeing little Lauren grooming Mickey, tied to the big trees, Desi-her first ride on Mac, Alex so focused-on Buzzy, winning her class. Then the next time Arianna taking the win on Crunchy. And remembering specifically the day Snowboy came back to the farm from his time at the SPCA.
Caitlyn took a Morgan to Pin Oak the first time. Seriously. What were we thinking? -But she did well and it was the first Pin Oak of so many to come.
The Six Meadow Farm Team-Allyson, Amanda, Isabel, Lauren, Libby and Alex
When the girls from our Six Meadow Farm entered the ring, it was a real time of throwback memories. The hunter course of outside, inside, outside, inside was just the same. When my girls (and my boy Snow) all came back with Champion or Reserve ribbons it was super sweet!
I did not even know I missed the farm. My life is full. But it is Dianne that started it all for so many of us. I felt almost physically assaulted and totally exhausted as I left the farm that day. Emotionally drained is an apt expression.
Thank you Dianne for the days we spent in your tutelage, kindness and friendship. I will be richer all my life for my days spent with you!
Shout out to my old friends with whom I have recently reunited…it was so wonderful to see you all again—Dianne, Carol, Kim, Deanna, Rachel, Danny, Rebecca, Chelsie and Diane.
Thank you for riding along. You are my family.