I grew up with ponies in the barnyard, I boarded my horse briefly many years ago, and I've been a long-distance horse owner. This is the experience gained by a lifetime with horses. I knew, absolutely, without a doubt, that living with my horses right across the yard would be awesome... and it is... and I knew that I wouldn't necessarily have hours and hours to leisurely ride across the fields, down the gravel roads, and putting in productive hours in the ring, training them into rock-solid teachers for new riders.
I knew it wouldn't go that way.
I knew how much work goes into caring for a large grazing mammal when kept in an environment of barns and fences. It's especially a lot of work if the standards are high. Which mine tend to be. I hate seeing manure all over the ground, and I don't like it when the horses are crusty and dirty. I hate when hay is wasted, so I go around picking it up and salvaging the good hay from the stuff trampled into the mud. I sweep aisles. I probably spend as much, no, more time, cleaning my barn than my house.
The thing is, I technically could spend more time actually riding.
I'd have to stop doing things like washing dishes, taking care of paperwork, driving teenagers to band practice.... walking the dog... blogging... writing... putting things in the washing machine, taking them out of the dryer... the occasional shopping trip... You know. LIFE.
And yeah, horses are life, right?
Seriously, no exaggerating or joking, my horses have been so good for my sanity. They calm me, they make me feel like the real me. They bring me joy that can only be surpassed by my family.
Going for a ride is exhilarating, and frustrating, and rewarding. Even ten minutes in the saddle is worth it.
It's just that, I don't have to ride to enjoy those horses. Just looking out the window and admiring their beauty makes me feel good about life. I love to brush them and watch their eyes and lips droop with happiness. I even like cleaning up after them.
Even when I'm tired and don't want to go out to the barn for the last time that day, I'm always content to be with the horses. I love having them in the backyard. Even if it cuts down on all that riding time.