Friday, March 26, 2010

The Flip Side of the Barn

I used pass them on the driveway or run into them as I was arriving at the barn.  It would be late afternoon, usually early evening, after my work day was finished.  If they were still there, they were on their way out.  I'd hardly have time to speak to them as they hustled to their cars or waved as they passed me on the driveway.  I'd rarely see them on the weekends.

The people I interacted with at the barn were like me.  We worked all day long and 'ran' up to the barn in the evenings with whatever energy we had left.  Our window of time was limited due to after hour chores, heading home to fix meals or being home at a decent hour to head off to bed before another work day commenced.  Weekends were used to spend extra time at the barn to get 'fixes' in with our horses which we hadn't had time for during the work week.

Since I've retired one of the biggest changes I've found is that I'm now part of the flip side of the barn.  Yup, that's now me you see heading out the door or waving to you on the drive when you're on your way up to ride after work.

The flip side of the barn has introduced me to people I never knew before.  There is the woman who I've come to refer to as "My Inspiration".  She hauls in every day, rain or shine.  She boards a horse at the barn and every day she hauls in her other one.  She rides them both during her day.  She's a 50+ rider who had a  bad fall a few months ago.  It shattered her confidence and when we visit or ride together we talk about the steps one takes on rebuilding or raising their confidence levels.

Her commitment to ride every day, not only in the indoor/outdoor arenas, but all over the 100 acre facility has paid off.  About a month ago she rode over to tell me she'd just cantered for the first time since her fall.  She says she cantered for a long period and that her confidence faded in and out, but she succeeded!  The look on her face expressed the goal she'd achieved.  She's now cantering every time she rides.

We find ourselves riding together during the week when it's quiet.  Our discussions on confidence and the approach to getting past fear have helped me get my confidence back.  I'm now riding all gaits again since things went sideways for me last November.  I find myself climbing on without fear and having FUN.   This last week we put on an old Carpenter's CD and rode to the music.  Two goofy old broads, laughing and riding together.  We had a blast.  I smile at the recollection as I write this.

There is the small pleasant woman who spends numerous hours each day with her horse.  He's a huge Thoroughbred, full of personality.  He's recently had some health issues and she tends to him for hours every day.  Her love for her horse is projected in the difference of their size. 

She's filled with positive thoughts and suggestions.  She had shared with me in January that Champ appeared unhappy and suggested I introduce some positive energies into our routine, such as hand-grazing or going for walks after we finished our rides.  Her ideas that we should add some different routines into the daily grind of going around and around the arena (see prior Post/Mixing It Up) have really improved Champ and my relationship.  Her suggestions are a testament to my recent incredible rides. 

The gentleman who feeds our horses is part of our daily group and someone I never had a chance to interact with when I was on the flip side of the barn.  His English is woven through his native tongue.  As he brings the horses in from the fields each day, he sings softly to them.  The horses adore him and I appreciate how well he cares for them.  He tells me with laughing eyes, "That Champ, he is Loco!"  I smile and tell him the horse he is bringing in from the field is, "Mucho Loco!"  Then we both break into laughter.

Where I used to be in a hurry or share business shop talk with my fellow riders, conversation now centers around serenity from moving at a slower, more relaxed pace. There seem to be no hurry to get a certain project with one's horse accomplished in a single day. The flip side of the barn takes each day as it comes.  If it doesn't get accomplished on this day, there's always tomorrow.

I have a great respect for those on the side I used to be on and count myself fortunate to experience the other side.  The flip side of the barn, two groups of people with the same passions and goals, like ships passing in the night, rarely encountering each other.


  1. Interesting perspective you have, now that you've been on both sides. Sounds like a busy barn. I'd be in the evening group if I boarded there and would be longing to be on the flip side like you are now. But we do what we have to do to pursue our passion.