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Sharing a Barn

I have to admit, sharing a barn has not been my favorite thing until recently. If I had my choice, my girl would be in my backyard, and I’d walk out to take care of her twice a day, and never have to deal with other barn people. Just my horse, my kids, my husband, and I enjoying the days as they go by in an unrushed, pleasant fashion. But that’s not the world or reality that we live in.

Our days are often rushed (thank you wrecker business), and we are boarders at a medium-sized facility, where running into other boarders is unavoidable.

I was finding myself frustrated after many of these encounters. Honestly, people are rather cold and unfriendly, or full of advice that  I didn’t ask for, and that’s not why I go to the barn. I go to get away from all of those things!

I had an epiphany after two really awesome encounters with people who frustrated me the most. Horse people are just like non-horse people. Hang on, don’t get your feathers ruffled. I know the horse-lover gene makes us our own breed, but we really are the same as someone else, who is passionate about something else.

We have these critters that have captivated our minds and hearts, and we have many things we have tried – some have worked, some haven’t. Things for nutrition/diet, training/exercise, and things for pest control, pasture, sheds and/or stalls. The things that work, we cling to. The things that don’t, we avoid. Just like a non-horse person.

And when someone new comes around, we are afraid of recommendations we know won’t work, we are afraid of finding out we are doing it all wrong, we are afraid of being judged or criticized. We just want to do what works, and keeps our fuzzy, 4-legged baby happy, healthy, and sound.

Now, we also have seen things get horses, or the people who love them, hurt. So, when we start throwing out unwanted advice, we aren’t trying to judge or pick on someone. We want your horse to be happy, healthy, and sound too. And we want you to be safe. We all have those things about horses and their care that really get our attention, and we just can’t slow our mouths down sometimes. Our intentions are not meant to be mean, or hateful (in most cases).

As I was pondering this, and thanking God for the new grace/lens to look through, it made me realize it’s not just a horse people thing. It’s a mom thing, a dog people thing, an artist thing…really, it’s a people thing.

We don’t want to find out we are doing it all wrong. We have our things that work, things that didn’t, and things that we are too scared to try. And as we work through these things, we want people to understand, encourage, and standby us – sometimes without ever offering advice.

So, I’ m going to work on offering less advice, and just encouraging people in their efforts. I’m going to pray for the grace to overlook mistakes, the patience to listen without commenting unnecessarily, and the wisdom to recognize the times that God wants to use me to say something specific.

 

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Determination

First off, this is a project I’ve been meaning to start since January. A new blog, to chronicle our days and learning experiences along the way – many of them focused on what we are learning from our horse, or the things we get to teach her. Her name is Risky, and she’s an 11 year old bay mare – she’s a real gem!

One of the things I realized the other day, in the pouring down rain, is how much I learned from having horses. I grew up with a younger sister, and a variety of pets. Always having someone to look out for and take care of taught me a lot. (And I also look back and shake my head at the times I didn’t take care of things the right way, especially with my sister.)

One lesson that sticks with me, whether I have pets or not, before I became a mother, and since I’ve started the journey of motherhood, before I had stepsons, and even now with two stepsons that I adore, is determination. See, it takes a special something, deep inside someone, to get through the grimy days, the rainy days, the messy days. As I trudged through the mud, and the rain drenched me from the top of my head down, and drops ran off the end of my nose, I found some small joy in it. I thanked God for carrying me through the times I can’t walk, and for being there for the times I can – whether or not I see or notice, or want Him there.

And I’m thankful that I learned, from a young age, to do what it takes to get the job done. It may not be easy, and it may not always be fun, but it is worth it.

I also realized some areas (like housework) that I need to show some determination. I’m not very good, at the end of the day, to come home and clean the house or mop the floors or fold the clothes. The house suffers, and as a result, I feel bad that things are so messy.

Just as importantly, I realized how important it is to share those jobs with the kids. They can all learn something from helping, having a job to do, and accomplishing something. And hopefully, these rainy feeding days will teach them to trudge through the mud, to do what needs to be done, so that when the sun is shining, we can play!

 

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(Risky, all wet, and a view of the big mess she’s making with her hay!)