Living with Horses is My Happy Place
Where is my home?
Every man needs a place
With a little bit of space,
A roof and four walls,
For when the rain falls.
– Forest Sun
A friend of mine recently sold her two horses. She’d raised both from colts and worked hard to turn them into lovely, well-mannered, equine citizens. I was shocked when she told me she’d parted with them and was now horseless. I hadn’t realized that was something she’d ever consider. It was painful for her, but she felt called to do other things with her life.
My first reaction was sadness; I’d enjoyed our shared passion and felt gloomy it was over, but I do understand. Caring for horses and the place they live is all-consuming and ties us down. I think of her often when I head out into the dark, cold, winter mornings to do chores, or when I balance my checkbook. She’s free of the responsibilities, expense, and back-breaking work of horse ownership.
And so, I try and imagine it. What would it be like to not have horses? How would it feel to live in town, maybe even in a condo or apartment with no land to care for? I mull it over and always come back to the same thought: I’m not ready yet.
My horses and this farm are my home. Perhaps it will always be this way for me. I can’t imagine the emptiness of a horseless life. I love the rhythms of farm life and animal care. Caring for horses and a farm are a kind of prayer to me. The physical work, the changing seasons, even the sacrifice involved bring me closer to the divine. Caring for horses gets me out of myself and helps me consider the needs of others. It moves me towards nature and gives me a community of human friends I cherish.
An equine facility is not just the four walls and roof of a barn, but the souls that live inside and around it. The horses, of course, but also the birds, the cats, the dog at my heels, my boarders, the people who haul in for lessons, my farriers, and my veterinarians. Many of these people are my closest friends. There are the sunrises and sunsets I see when feeding and cleaning stalls and pens, the coyote prowling the fields, the elk herd, and the doe and her fawns. This is my home.
See this article in the January/February 2023 online edition:
Kim Roe grew up riding on the family ranch and competed in Western rail classes, trail horse, reining, working cow, and hunter/jumper. She trained her first horse for money at 12 years old, starting a pony for a neighbor.
Kim has been a professional dressage instructor in Washington state for over 30 years, training hundreds of horses and students through the levels. In recent years Kim has become involved in Working Equitation and is a small ‘r’ Working Equitation judge with WE United.
Kim is the editor of the Northwest Horse Source Magazine, and also a writer, photographer, and poet. She owns and manages Blue Gate Farm in Deming, Washington where she continues to be passionate about helping horses and riders in many disciplines.