The Grass is Greener...
The other day I caught myself mindlessly scrolling Instagram, watching horse videos.
Specifically, people doing all sorts of amazing things with their horses.
And I found myself feeling a little jealous.
Why can’t my horse do that? Why doesn’t my horse hug me? Why can’t I do a back flip off my horse?!
It got a little stupid, really. I can’t even do a back flip on solid ground.
But then, thankfully, I snapped out of it.
I HAVE A HORSE.
I still can’t believe it. I have a horse. I waited until I was 34 and I had a “Come-to-Jesus” moment as I was watching my father lose his battle with cancer, but, I finally got my horse.
The rest. That’s on me.
Callisto and I have a very funny relationship. Funny in that the first time I ever got on him he bucked me off, my leg was gouged open with an exposed tree root, and Matthew had to give me 7 (9?) stitches. I was riding the high of being a horse owner though, and I didn’t even feel the pain. I got right back on him.
I wish I could say that was the last time he bucked me off, but it wasn’t.
In fact, he’s bucked me off more times than I can count.
And you know what. Every single time it was my fault. I didn’t know it at the time, but it was my fault.
But I’m stubborn, and I have a deep deep connection with this beast. He is the creature that pulled me out of my depression after my Dad died.
Callisto was probably way too much horse for me. Over the past two years I have spent a lot of time reading books, watching youtubes, studying, studying, studying. I had to become the rider he needed me to be, and sometimes I let that get in the way of my working with him. I got in my own head and, instead of doing something, I did nothing. I blamed it on time.
As in, I don’t have time.
That is…until I had my epiphany.
10 days ago I challenged myself to work with my horse every day for 30 days straight. Most days I’ve ridden him, or worked him in the round pen. One day so far I literally had 15 minutes to give, so I grabbed him out of the field, groomed him, and trimmed his hooves. It wasn’t much, but it was something.
10 days in, and so much has changed.
Most notably, he easier to catch. He and I are working on him coming when I whistle but we’re not there yet. Right now I’m happy with him staying dead still until I walk up to him. Also of note, he hasn’t tried to buck me off in 9 days. I mean, that right there is pretty great for the ol’ self-esteem. We still have a long ways to go. Eventually I’d love for him to be a horse that anyone could ride, not just me. But if that never happens, that’s okay too. Callisto is young, he just turned 11, and I have all sorts of great adventures I want to take him on, like riding the Pacific Crest Trail.
There’s something wild and outrageous about this horse that speaks to my soul…maybe it’s the wildness in me…all I know is, it is entirely up to me how he turns out as a horse and what our relationship will look like.
THE GRASS IS GREENER WHERE YOU WATER IT.
When the documentary “Free Solo” came out on demand I asked Matthew if he wanted to watch it. At first he said, “No.” I was shocked. The very first vacation we took together was to Joshua Tree National Park to rock climb. I was pregnant with Banzai and so sick, vomiting 6 times a day, nauseous most of the time…I wasn’t pregnant when we booked it and it was non-refundable…so we made it happen.
We even installed a climbing wall in our event space a few years ago.
“If I watch it,” he said, “I’ll just feel sad that I don’t have time to climb.”
“Bull shit.” I said. “If you want to climb, then let’s make it a priority.”
And so we did. We looked at our life and said, realistically we can’t do everything. So what really feeds our soul?
Obviously, the farm. Our dairy is not only our dream, it’s also our livelihood. We have to make it a priority.
Second, the horses. I am infinitely lucky that I married a man who loves horses. When he told me on our first date that one of his first big purchases in high school was to buy a Buckskin named Dan, little flashing lights went off in my brain. Horses are a priority for both of us, and, because they have no choice in the matter yet, our kids.
Third, rock climbing. I loved climbing trees as a kid. I enjoyed using our rock wall. And, now that we’ve said this is something that matters to us, I am LOVING rock climbing.
But, something had to give. Sissy has been doing ballet for about 6 months. She likes it, but, she doesn’t love it. And her monthly lesson cost is the same amount of money as a family membership to the climbing gym, which is literally 5 minutes from our farm. So we sat down and talked as a family. Everyone voted that we join the gym. Sissy didn’t even bat an eye about giving up dance. She knows that if it ever becomes something she is wildly passionate about, we will make it work. For now though, she wants to be a cowgirl and a rock climber.
It’s taken some juggling, but we’re making it work.About two nights a week Matthew or I finish milking and we load up the family and head to the climbing gym. I make sure dinner is in the instapot before we leave. We climb for an hour and scoot back to the farm to eat, shower, books, and bedtime.
I started a formal riding lesson program with the kids every Thursday. I booked it in my calendar and it’s non-moveable. If we could find time to take Sissy to ballet lessons we can certainly find time to get everyone on the back of a horse in the round pen.
We’re also getting creative with pockets of time. Matthew will often sneak in 20 minutes of rock climbing while I shower the kids. I’ve scooted out of bed early a few mornings to get on my horse.
Are we going to achieve Olympic athlete results with 20 minutes stolen here, and 15 minutes stolen there?
But are we feeding our souls the best we can at this point in our lives?
The grass isn’t greener on the other side.
The grass is greener where you water it.
After last Halloween my best friend was feeling sad that her neighborhood was kind of “duddy”. Every third house had their lights off and their doors locked. Not quite what you would call “community.” Instead of complaining about it, she took matters into her own hands. Annie organized an Easter Egg hunt that I swear hosted over 100 people today. I was so proud of her, standing up on that picnic table, letting everyone know where the different age appropriate hunting spots were, talking and laughing with her neighbors…
She was unhappy with the isolation in her neighborhood so she did something about it.
It’s so easy, especially in the world of social media, where the majority of everyone’s posts are their bests, a delicious meal at a fancy restaurant, flowers from a boyfriend, vacationing anywhere but where you are, to feel inadequate. That feeling can become crippling, debilitating.
It can keep you from becoming who you’re supposed to be.
Yes, there’s the other obstacles…finances, skills, circumstances…a clever phrase can’t fix that.
But it is a friendly reminder.
More often than not there’s something that can give, budge, or move, to make way for something else to grow, thrive, or flourish.
If we can get out of our own heads long enough to figure out what that is, we all might just become unstoppable. We can cheer for each other’s bests, because we know we have our own.
At the very least.
We’ll be living the kind of lives we really want for ourselves.
And I would call that, “the very best.”