I’ve made it pretty clear that we’ve moved up here to get a farm. With our farm will come horses. Most folks know that I love horses. Its hard to explain, but it is also more than love. Growing up, my horse Kristopher was my best friend. Especially in middle and high school, I often felt like I couldn’t take a deep breath unless I was at the farm. My best summer in college was spent at a christian horse camp teaching kids how to care for and ride horses. After graduating college, the only job I could find to support Cole and I was grooming/managing fancy show horses at a lovely barn in Boulder. There is something about these beautiful creatures that I cannot live without.
Moving to Duluth was moving closer to getting horses back into my life. For the last five years, Cole and I have focused on our careers and saving up for our future family. My crazy schedule planning events has left me zero time to really pursue horses. There was a short time last spring when I thought I had finally found my forever horse, but the timing wasn’t right. I finally feel as though it is now.
I am so blessed that I met a wonderful horsewoman (aptly also named Mary) that lives up here on a horse group through Facebook. We’ve been chatting for months and she’s been scoping out some farms for us to look at. Today I had the honor of going out to meet her and see Witchtree Training Center, where she works. I also was able to meet Kathy, the owner. They were kind enough to invite me to the farm and to ride with them!
Its been a few years since I’ve been around horses seriously, so getting back in the saddle was a blast. It didn’t take long to prove that I’ve clearly lost some of my basic riding techniques. It was a very humbling to realize I wasn’t even holding the reins right! I am so thankful for their – both the horses and Kathy/Mary – patience with me. Mary and Kathy were even gracious enough to give me a mini lesson while we rode.
The horses were a little wound up, but I mostly attested that to me being new and not keeping my seat/hands very well. After riding Kiwi for a bit, I gave Stormy a try. Mary helped me work through a basic walk/halt exercise. Just when I really felt like I was making progress, Stormy got wound up again. She was a complete lady the whole time, but she was agitated. Kathy and Mary were helping me work through it when we heard an loud sound coming from the woods. Mary was facing the woods an saw a tree shaking. About the same time, some of the birds on property made a noise alerting everyone to a predator near by.
It was a bear.
We never saw it, but the horses were making it clear that it was close. We were all so focused on working through my riding techniques that we completely overlooked what the horses were trying to tell us the whole ride – there is a predator close by!! It wasn’t until Stormy finally said (in her horsey way), “Hey, you crazy ladies!! Its time to go!” that we finally understood what was going on. We humans tend to be a little slow.
Sitting at home, I am having a good laugh about the whole thing. I have never had to watch out for bears while riding before! Something new for this crazy adventure we are on.
I am so grateful for the warm welcome I received from Kathy and Mary. I am also incredibly thankful to Stormy for letting us know what what going on while also allowing me to stay on her back – many horses would have lost their heads, shaken off their rider and headed for safety. I am really looking forward to taking some lessons from Kathy so that when its time to finally bring my own horse home (a lifelong dream of mine) that I’ll be ready.
This move has been scary and starting a business overwhelming. Spending time at the barn today made me remember why we signed up for this in the first place. I took my first deep breath since being up here, and honestly, maybe my first deep breath in quite awhile. Overall, I just feel like today was one baby step towards a dream I have been dreaming ever since I can remember. Though Cole isn’t nearly as into horses as I am (or really at all), tonight I am also feeling a whole lot closer to our dream of a little farm for our family.
A huge thanks to Kathy for taking the great photographs from today!