Life with Buzz has never been smooth-sailing.
I wish it were true that I approached horse-ownership with a starry-eyed, dream-come-true’d attitude.
I wish I’d always thought that this was absolutely the Right Thing.
I wish I’d felt like I would’ve felt if he came into my life when I was in my teens or early twenties.
But I haven’t.
I’ve been known to say, out loud, that he’s the right horse at the wrong time.
Riding and owning horses when you’re either single and/or childless is a whole different beast to the experience of being someone’s spouse/parent. Suddenly, you don’t have hours of free time to spend faffing at the barn. Because everyone knows that the actual riding part of riding is only a tiny fraction of the time expenditure!
I’m fortunate — very — in that I have a spouse who fully understands the nature of horse-ownership/responsibility and actively encourages me to spend time with Buzz, knowing as he does, how being with Buzz is something which brings me a great deal of joy. Usually.
I also have a couple of kids who have been very much a part of Buzz’s life and consider him a member of our family.
There’s always going to be a part of me (and it’s something that’s part of an old, entangled story I tell myself about responsibility and worth) that wanting to be with Buzz, wanting to pursue eventing, is horribly selfish and I’m a terrible person for spending time away from my home and family.
And then there’s the financial strain of it all — unless we win the lottery, I imagine I’ll always feel guilty for channeling money into such a ‘luxury’.
But then there’s a day like last Saturday. A day where, for the first time in the many months since my beautiful girl-child began to suffer terribly from life-threatening mental illness, I asked if she’d like to come to see Buzz with me and she said “yes”.
A day where not only did she come to groom him, but she said “yes” to getting on him and walking around. And then she decided she’d trot. And then she decided it would be okay for us to go on a little walkabout. And then there was the sudden, violent flight of a turkey vulture from behind a wall – right. in. front. of. us and Buzz spooked a bit (as did we all) and she fell off and landed right on her feet and she felt mastery and confidence and a quiet satisfaction with herself and her abilities that she hasn’t felt in a very, very, very long time.
A day like that?
Well, it’s worth every doubt and every question and it helps me to remember that there’s more to this horse lark than whether or not we’ll ever pull off a passable dressage test or get around a cross-country course without stopping to inspect every fence before we jump it.