When I was a little girl, I dreamed of having a black lab, a kitten and a horse. While I grew up in a house full of hunting dogs, my “bucket list” animals had an address independent of mine…
My favorite farmer and I met my freshman year of college. Our “first baby” was a black lab that we named Taylor. Taylor went everywhere with Matt and graduated from Thayer Engineering school with a masters in Engineering and Business. She was more than happy to move to the farm in June of 1997 when our address changed to Nebraska, and we quickly got her a black and white kitten to keep her company while we went to work.
My dream of having a horse came true the summer of 2005. My beloved feed yard horse developed navicular problems and could no longer work, so I brought him home to my back yard for his retirement years. Because “horses are like potato chips, and you can’t just have one” — That same summer, I bought a young quarter horse from a friend who ranches in the Sandhills. A third eventually took up residence when old age claimed the first.
At the time that I brought my first horse home, I was beginning my seven year long battle with Graves Disease. Matt could not fathom why I wanted to add to my list of chores, however, my horses brought me a sense of peace in a time of mental chaos. When my body refused to work and my mind struggled to focus, I could walk out my back door and bury my face in the softness of my horse’s neck. When I got too weak to lift my saddle, I could climb up bare back and Dandy would take me for a walk — somehow he seemed to know that I needed that precious moment of peace to find the strength to face the next day.
Learning to find harmony in that unique human/animal partnership is one of life’s greatest blessings. My girls understand this, and sharing those moments with them puts a sparkle in my eye and a warm glow in my heart.
My favorite blonde cowgirl and I have a regular Sunday date with our beloved equines. It is a time of laughter, and a time of sharing. It refuels my soul and creates many precious moments that we take with us on our life journey. Over the past few years, I have let responsibilities at the feed yard stand in the way of some of our weekly dates. It always left me feeling bereft and ill-prepared to face the challenges of the coming week. I know that Megan felt the void of our missing rides as well.
This fall, I made a renewed commitment to our weekly dates — allowing myself the time to just be — to enjoy, to renew, and to share those rides once again with Megan. There are times that we let our lives, our responsibilities, and our commitments block out the needed periods of self-renewel. We work ourselves into the ground refusing to admit that we are human and might need a moment to reflect and heal.
This is a recurring challenge for me.
Looking into the future, my crystal ball is still hazy but I know that I am going to take more time to enjoy life’s precious moments. There is balance to be found between sharing your talents and preserving your sanity. There even exists a harmonious place where adequate renewal time actually allows for a greater sharing of talents due to an increase in personal strength.