Horses are the Gift that Keeps on Giving
By Kim Roe
With each passing year I experience two things with horses: 1) Gratitude to still have them in my life and, 2) Less ambition where they are concerned.
Let me take this apart a little. The first point is fairly obvious – in this crazy, sometimes sad, often hard, expensive, concrete-and-car-laden world we live in I’ve somehow been fortunate to have horses in my life. My entire life. Horses have taken me places and into magical worlds I never would have seen or experienced except for the simple fact that I’m a horse person. I’ve met and made wonderful friends because of our shared love for horses.
Horses have built my strength, confidence, and resilience. I know it’s a privilege, being a horse person, and I don’t take it for granted (though I’m sure I once did). I’m creative enough to imagine things changing in my life as I age. One day, I might not be able to physically (or financially) care for them anymore. It’s a thought that makes me toss and turn at night.
But if I live to be old and feeble, I don’t see myself bucking bales, breaking ice, and shoveling manure. Or riding. I know this is a problem for the future. I’m still (fairly) young and healthy…but not as young as I once was. So as the years tick by, I find myself increasingly grateful for every moment I have with horses.
Point two: I’ve always competed horses. I’ve dreamed of success in shows and being a well-respected trainer; had lofty goals for what I and my horses would achieve and all that goes with being a successful equine professional. But lately, those dreams feel a bit hollow. I really just love to be with my horses, and though I still enjoy competing, I enjoy a ride in the woods or across the meadow just as much. Maybe more.
It’s the small things that bring me the most joy. These are the best gifts horses offer; they don’t bring notoriety or ribbons but feel like the greatest achievements. Like the first time my colt ran across the field to be with me when I called his name; or the way Gunner melts when I tell him he’s a good boy, a really, really, good boy. The look in his eye just does me in. What an old softie I’ve become!
Horses are the gift that keep on giving. They bring us places we need to go, both physically and spiritually. They give from their most generous hearts just what we need, when we need it.
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.