Last night was a monumentous occasion at our house. My 18 and 22 year old daughters, embarked on a long (15 hours, round trip with a snowstorm nipping on their heels is long enough for this Mom!) drive to go look at a new horse, on their own. Without me.
I don’t mind telling you that I had a bit of a lump in my throat when they left because I have always been there for these trips, handling the travel arrangements, finances, decision-making. In fact, I’ve been there for everything from sewing their show clothes to getting up at 6:00 AM (especially when they were little girls) to help them do chores on days where the wind chills were below zero. I’ve been there when we had to make hard, life-changing decisions about exhausting all medical possibilities for a horse….or showing our endless love and compassion by helping them cross the Rainbow Bridge.
We’ve rejoiced in National Championships and dealt with ‘getting the gate’, as individuals and as a family. I’ve watched them have a flawless ride and ‘hit the dirt’, always trying to help them understand important life-lessons along the way. They have learned that horsemanship and life are both journeys. They’ve learned the value of common-sense, patience and teamwork…and I’ve been there watching and guiding every step of the way. Until today.
Admittedly, I was feeling left-out and was afraid of the millions of “What If’s” that were racing through my mind, but then it hit me: we had been preparing for this moment for their entire lives, and mine. THIS event wasn’t about me at all, it was about watching them embark on a new journey and I needed to have FAITH in the lessons they have learned along the way. My role wasn’t to teach or guide this time. My role was to let go, have FAITH and quite possibly, discover another valuable life lesson myself.
Horses have taught my daughters and our family so much: Trust, Compassion, Hard Work, Integrity, Independence, Patience, Respect, Courage, Forgiveness, Teamwork, Life, Love. If you have horses, you know the list goes on and on. Sometimes I find myself wondering, how people can actually manage to raise their children without being involved in horses!
Last night, as their truck was pulling out, I learned another important lesson: I needed to have FAITH and discover their is JOY in letting GO and watch your children discover their own, exciting path. Expanding their horizons, trying things outside their comfort zone are sometimes scary but also important components in both horsemanship and life. It’s amazing (and let’s be honest, a bit frightening at times for us as adults), to watch our children discover where their paths are leading them. Life can put lots of things in your path, it’s how we learn to deal with both, that really counts.
I’ve watched my daughters flourish and become independent, self-sufficient, incredible women, in large part because of the lessons they’ve learned from having and loving horses. Along the way, we have also been blessed to have met some truly remarkable people through our involvement with horses. There is an old saying that says, “It takes a Village to Raise a Child” and that’s true… but I know I will be eternally grateful glad that our ‘Village’ has always included horses.
My daughters have been faithfully texting my husband and I updates and they are about to take their first ride on ‘Diesel’. Will he be coming home with them? Who knows but I do know this: the experience of watching them live, grow and love in their lives thus far gives me immeasurable confidence, pride and most of all FAITH, that they will make the best possible decision about adding him to the family.
Life & Horsemanship are all about the journey and lessons learned along the way. Here’s to another discovery and teachable moment in my life!
Do you have teachable moments you’ve learned as a result of being involved with horses? If so, we’d love to hear them!