The Struggle is Real

I have a two-year-old. I know what you’re thinking. This is a blog for people who love horses and eventing. She MUST have a young horse. Wrong! I have a two-year-old son. I do, however, have a horse: a wonderful, kind, gentle 13 year old Thoroughbred cross gelding that is perfect for an adult amateur eventer like me.

Except that he hates mud. I know. He’s an eventer; mud should not be a problem. It’s not. Most of the time; unless it’s the kind of spring we have been having down here in the South where we’ve all been wondering who bent the space time continuum and transported us all to Seattle. Then the endless shoe sucking mud becomes a bit of a problem, but I digress. This isn’t about mud.

It’s about the struggle: the struggle for balance between being a mom and being an eventer. I am almost 47 years old. Besides the child and the horse, I also have a husband, a part time job, and two Great Pyrenees dogs. I live in the decidedly un-eventing Mecca of Arkansas. My car looks like the barn, the arena and a daycare center simultaneously exploded inside of it while the dogs were visiting, and it was raining.  And you know that joke about the horsewoman’s tack room being cleaner than her house?

Well, if the shoe fits. As Pink said, “Welcome to my silly life.”

If I had a nickel for every person who said to me, “Well, you just need to get that little boy raised, and then you can go back to riding that horse,” I would have that little boy’s college paid for.

No offense, but I’m an eventer. I love what I do, and eventers aren’t exactly known for sitting on the sidelines idly while life passes them by. I may not be Bunnie Sexton who just completed Rolex at the age of 53 or Jessica Phoenix who rode at Rolex 6 weeks after giving birth, but I do have goals and dreams. I love my horse and I love to event. I also love my son; I love him more than anything else in the world. I love that he is learning to love and be responsible for and respect animals because of my love of horses and involvement in eventing.

The struggle remains. My tack isn’t always clean; neither is my house. My horse’s mane isn’t always perfectly pulled, and I need a haircut. However, because I do what I love, because it’s not just about riding, because it’s about loving and caring for another creature, my son is learning that too. I board my horse at a very kid-friendly barn that is about 30 minutes from where we live. My son doesn’t always go with me to the barn, but when he does, he is able to be outside digging in the sand with his dump trucks, splashing in mud puddles, and “riding his” pony. He’d rather be chasing the barn cats and gathering honeysuckles than watching TV. Those things make me happy. It’s a lifestyle I want for him.

My love for horses and eventing help provide that.

So as crazy and hectic as my days are, as dirty and unruly as my house and my hair get, the insanity helps me hold onto my sanity.

Potty training is way more difficult than a combination of corners.

What calms my nerves after an extended session of diapers versus big boy underwear are the smells of the barn and the big forgiving brown eyes of my four legged partner.  Suddenly, all the craziness is worth it. It makes me a better mom and a better person. I’m an eventer. I wouldn’t have it any other way.