I would love to answer if you would come off of anon so I could private message you :) That’d actually be kind of cool of you to do so!
No, really, it’s nothing to be sorry about; I’m actually glad I realized it now instead of letting it ferment and fester throughout summer and me regretting not realizing it now! I will, love you girl :)
Thank you, dear! I really appreciate that :)
In life, you’re given many pathways and directions to pursue, and many shoes to fill. Even though life controls so much of this, and you are given so little choice, it is still your responsibility to know when it is time to end a chapter, and begin a new one.
More and more, this end has been presenting itself to me in regards to my time at my barn. Words cannot convey enough how much I love the people and the horses I’ve worked with for almost a year now. The experiences and the lessons my barn family have taught me will forever be invaluable—in the most blunt and real way, they saved my life. It will always be a part of my like that I will cherish.
However, more and more, I am starting to feel like my position as a working student has become arbitrary. Rachel, the other “working student,” spends all of her free time there basically, and is more experienced and accustomed to things there than I ever will be, and while she enjoys the position of learning and training that I always wanted and thought I was working towards, for the remainder of my time here I will remain where I am now: manual labor, horse care, and secondary.
It saddens me to think that my temporary status here at the barn as doomed me to being secondary, or tertiary, in priority. But I have to be realistic and honest with myself. There are almost no horses to ride on a regular basis for me—Cedric is now considered back in full training fitness, and of course now that he’s ready to go, his owner is now interested and engaged in riding him (funny how she was so absent when he wasn’t fit, but, whatever). So, there’s no room for me. Then there are the lesson horses, which as summer draws nearer, will be more and more busy with kids’ lessons. And all the privately owned horses who’s owners only want their asses or the Coach’s ass sitting in the saddles. Almost no sales horses are here for me to at least exercise.
And while Rachel enjoys training on her own horses and on the horses the Trainer trusts with her experience, there’s little ol’ me, working.
Every bone in my body is screaming at me not to take this break in my riding before I leave for Uni and go for riding there and showing there. It’s insane, impractical, and stupid. But I know that, unfortunately, my time has come a bit prematurely for me to make my exit from my barn. At this point, the only things that are keeping me there are my bonds with the people, and primarily my bonds with the horses. And that isn’t healthy for either involved.
It’s time for a change of direction, even before my big change in direction called college. I want to be somewhere where I am of use and am valued beyond just being an extra pair of hands or the slave to pawn off projects on. I want to grow and explore my own skills as a rider and horse-person without feeling stifled by someone who will always be more ahead of the game than me.
As of now, I am currently looking at working at barns that aren’t so heavily competition-oriented. I’ve been thinking about applying for a couple exercise rider positions at horse rescues and smaller barns. Places where I could potentially be given new projects to work on; I have always enjoyed and been good at getting horses back into shape and back into enjoying life, I got that affirmation from Stanley, and if I can do it with him, I can do it with other horses.
I’ve realized that it has been that project focus that’s been missing from my life at the barn. I didn’t realize how much I enjoyed and worked at it until it was gone from my life, and I had to rearrange everything. I was learning the most, I was practicing the most, and I wasn’t constantly dying inside from anxiety or stress about my own problems. Because all that mattered to me was the bettering of the horse I was working with, and in that process, I became a better rider.
As much as I love my barn, and love what I do there, I have to look out for myself, like everyone else is doing. It’s just…sad, it had to be this way.
It shocks me sometimes when I realize just how irrelevant horses are to normal people. Like, woah, you DON’T stare at how pretty they are in movies or in a pasture you’re driving by? You DON’T know what a halter is? You don’t contribute at least 10 minutes a day to thinking about OR doing something involved with them?!