We live in a city. We can have dogs, our backyard rabbit and even chickens if we want but there is no possible way we could ever have a horse. Truth be told, I would not want one. I am a bit selfish with my personal time and would not want the work that goes into the care and keeping of a large animal. Over the years we have been friends with people who have acres of land, farm animals galore and my girls have been able to muck about in chicken coops, watch chicks hatch, collect fresh eggs, see baby goats soon after birth, chase away angry roosters and breathe in the fresh country air. It sure is good for one’s soul.
My Instagram feed has been full of horses lately. The girls started riding lessons a month ago and they just love it. My girls are so different. Lilah needs to see the big picture all the time to decide if the effort is worth the potential outcome. Last weekend we went to our first horse show, a small show with just a few farms participating. I explained that my understanding of the sport side of horseback riding is much like basic skills competitions Grace used to compete in as a skater. We watched the younger kids compete in the walk/trot. Not ten minutes into the event a horse got spooked and took off, throwing the rider who could not have been more than 10. Her horse spooked another who took off and threw its rider as well. I was astonished how fast these horses were running and how potentially dangerous the situation was to each horse and rider in the ring. Thankfully the trainers/teacher quickly got the situation under control. EMS treated the girls, who were both fine, thankfully, and the event continued. This taught my girls an important safety lesson. I no longer get eye rolls when I ask them to tighten their helmets.
I have no idea where they will go with riding. That scary experience did not deter them. Grace knows she wants to enter that ring someday soon and she will suck up her dislike of button down shirts and blazers to do it. Gasp...she might even put a bow in her hair! I love that she is overcoming her personal distaste of certain things to do what is important to her. She is maturing right before my eyes. Lilah is still on the fence about participating in a show but the great thing is -- she does not have to decide now. Their teacher and the owner of the farm is very child centered. She does not push. She does not acquiesce to pushy parents and she does not put the children in an environment they are unprepared for. I love that.
For now we love hanging around the farm. We love that the horses come to greet us and let us shower them with affection. We love the free ranging chickens popping in and out of the barn. We love the hill top location that makes us feel we are so far from home when we are only a few minutes drive away. We are able to get our farm-fix before we return to our home, with it awesome tree lined sidewalks, proximity to Main Street, park and neighbors. It is all good. Balance.