by Laura Schonberg
If you had asked me 5 years ago about adding horses to my life I would have said no way. Too much work, time, money and stress. And too much to manage along with working full time and keeping the family from total chaos. Now, going into year three with at least two horses and 40+ acres to manage, along with a herd of beef cows, I have days where I think, “This isn’t exactly what I had planned….”
Being over 40 and horse crazy can be challenging. While I have met the most amazing people and animals, it is also stressful at times as I struggle to prioritize responsible animal care and stretch myself beyond what I thought possible. To grow in this mid- life horse journey, I have chosen to work actively with a trainer for horsemanship, as well as take riding lessons in dressage and jumping. I also prioritize riding trails on weekends (day light/ weather permitting) and seek out opportunities to watch or participate in events that stretch my horsemanship. I belong to a local club that promotes involvement at the local and national level and judge at a neighboring riding facility.
Balancing work, play and health is critical and my horsing is the most significant portion of play. Athletic/aerobic workouts are motivated by the desire to develop a better seat and be able to work longer on chores and projects. My calendar is centered on open arena time and weather windows. Reading for pleasure always includes a horse journal or two and my general mentality is “something is better than nothing” when it comes to horsing.
Words can’t describe the absolute joy, completeness and positive life changes having horses at home has brought to me and my family. I get to feel like a super hero every single time I put myself in the saddle. Because I truly believe that the “somethings” we regularly do can have immense importance, this column is dedicated to sharing the little tries, moments and exercises that have improved my own horsemanship. Tune in next month; I hope you’ll come along for the ride. Remember, something is better than nothing!