Wednesday, March 9, 2011

I went to a barn today

No, I don't have pictures of this barn that I went to today. I thought it might be a little presumptuous of me to jump right into photographing people I just met in the kind of way that I'd like to continue meeting them... it would have been... awkward...

In California, until we left 9 months ago, I rode pretty regularly... twice, three times a week. I had my issues with riding... see here. A lot of anxiety related to going to the barn that melted away pretty quickly after I got on a horse... although sometimes it didn't. I had my share of meltdowns. I had some good friends at the barn, too... which meant that coming to CT and trying to motivate myself to go to a barn I don't know to live out my anxiety around people I don't know was doubly hard. Explanation as to why I haven't unpacked my riding gear? No? Well for some people it's not a good enough explanation, but that's the one I'm sticking to...

Anyhow, I met this woman by chance last summer, we'll call her Horsewoman. She has a cute collie mix named Ralphie and she was walking with Renee, who I walk with regularly while Tag chews on and chases her labrador Tilly. Horsewoman manages a beginner barn not far from me (she also lives right up the road from me) and offered that I should come visit her. I procrastinated for months. One thing led to another and it was Winter... and Winter was not a time to start at a new barn. Gross, cold... snowy... plus the horses are way more spunky in the winter and that's no way to make a first impression for someone who has mild anxiety related to riding ... sigh...

But now it's spring (well almost). I've been watching Leslie's videos about her lessons and loving her progress with Winston the wonder horse... and I've been missing it... missing being at the barn... missing being that girl who rides horses...

So when I saw Horsewoman the other day on a walk with the dogs and Renee, I mentioned that I would like to come visit her at her barn this week and when would she be able to show me around. So I went. It's a nice barn, not a big piece of land, but big enough for small riding rings and one bigger ring... green barns... I will take photos at some point, promise. Horsewoman showed me around and introduced me to all the lesson horses. I fed apples I had cut up this morning and ingratiated myself with them all (and the ponies, too). We talked about how their lesson programs work. They teach a lot of children, actually. They go to shows, learn how to jump and do dressage, ride ponies or horses depending on their height, weight, comfort and ability...

Horsewoman and I talked about my anxiety and my goal, which right now is just to be comfortable in my own skin with horses, handling them, understanding them... and she suggested that I just come volunteer some time... help with the spring shed (all the horses are furry from winter right now but will be losing all that fuzzy fur for summer in gobs very soon)... help with the lowest level lessons... learn from herself and from Other Horsewoman whom she said is very good at helping people understand horse body language and building confidence.

They were all so wonderfully welcoming, friendly, completely easy with me and where I feel like I'm at. I really liked that. I wasn't too sure I'd find a place like that here. CT seems a bit uppity at times and I feel out of place. But I felt at home there. It's not a shiny fancy barn like Willow Creek was. And it's missing the sweeping grandeur of space that Stallion Station had... but it makes up for that, I think. I'm going back early next week to trail around after Horsewoman again... before Noah and I go to Orlando for Emi's wedding... and then I'll go again when we get back... and we'll just see where it leads.

With any luck I'll be back in the saddle in no time.


  1. Glad to hear you are back with horses! Spending time with equines, even if on the ground, is so thereaputic. I am a fan of non-shiny, un-grand barns. They are usually full of people who love their horses, and want to help you love them too.

  2. Yay, that sounds like a wonderful first step! I'm very excited to read about your horse-y journey (and eventually see pictures of all the ponies :)).

  3. I'm so happy you've found a barn that sounds welcoming/comforting/a great place to settle in! Enjoy!!

  4. Woohoo!! I'm glad it was such good experience for you! Just take your time, enjoy that barn smell of hay and horsies, and remember that you're amazing! Wish I could be there to explore new barns with you. *HUG*


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