“[I]t is no good anticipating regrets. Every tomorrow ought not to resemble every yesterday.” –Beryl Markham
Sometimes, you’re given a choice. You could make the safe choice, and continue to wait until the timing is “perfect.” Or you could make another choice. The one that might seem crazy to someone who doesn’t get it. The one that scares you a little, but also feels more right than any other decision you’ve ever made.
So you plan and plan. You think of all the reasons you shouldn’t do it. You think of all the reasons that you should. Finally, you realize it’s time to stop thinking and planning, and to just make the choice you’ve known you were going to make all along.
This weekend, I bought a horse. Not just any horse. I bought my heart horse, and I know with my whole heart, that it was the right choice.
Val has always been a project horse that was meant to be sold. That was always the plan, and I’ve known that since day one. But when my trainer mentioned 2 weeks ago that it was time to get him sold, she gave me the option to buy him at a really reasonable price. After three years, I agreed that it was time for Val to find a home one way or another. But even if I could figure out paying the purchase price, I wasn’t sure I could really take on the responsibility that comes with horse ownership. There was a lot of looking at the budget, and talking with Joseph about what this would mean. And while I’ll obviously be making some changes to where my money goes, this is going to be ok. Do I have the money for colic surgery right now? Probably not (how many people really do?). But if it comes down to that, one way or another, I will find a way to do right by my horse.
Will this mean less spontaneous travelling? Absolutely. It will also mean less impulse shopping, and not going all out on birthday/Christmas/whatever holiday gifts, because I need to pay board. It might mean putting some other goals on the back burner for a bit. And I am 100% ok with those sacrifices. Because this horse makes me happier and more whole than any of those other things.
I’m still a little worried, because I’m a planner, and owning a horse inevitably means that there will be surprises. But I have a great trainer, and a wealth of resources to help me learn how to be a horse owner all on my own as an adult. I also have an SO who is 100% on board with this, understands that I need horses in my life as much as oxygen, and has seen how much Val means to me.
I of course have all of the same goals I set for this year, but owning a horse, rather than simply working with someone else’s horse has opened a world of possibilities. I absolutely still want to move up in height and do bigger classes. But now I’m doing this for me, and because my horse is incredibly talented. I’m not doing it to make a horse we can sell, and taking that pressure off means that the timeline is suddenly not nearly as important. It’s ok if I want to skip a show, or if I want to take off with a friend to go trail riding off the property. I don’t have to get permission to use Val in a clinic, or to let someone else take him in their trailer. I will also now have complete control over his health and well-being, and to an extent that’s terrifying, but it’s also very exciting.
For the first time since I started riding 20 years ago, I have a horse that will be mine for as long as I’d like. No one will buy this horse out from under me, and I won’t have to sell him before going off to college. I won’t need to sell him in order to move up, at least not for a long time, because I have yet to find his limit.
This horse is a lot of things I always said I’d never want in a horse: he’s hot, sensitive, and a thoroughbred.
He’s also a lot of things people spend a long time trying to find: he’s kind, brave, talented, full of try, and just plain fun.
But the best part of all? He’s mine.