Well, it’s official—I’ve been back to riding for one full year! I guess what they say is true; time flies when you’re having fun. While I’ve never doubted my love for the equestrian sport, I have questioned my ability to keep it up regularly, given that I don’t have a horse of my own and I am juggling growing a business and caregiving simultaneously. But, I’ve been fortunate to have found two wonderful horses to ride, thanks to their gracious owner, who’s been willing to share them with me. I’m also grateful to my friend, that introduced me to her barn a year ago and has integrated me into her community.
Horseback riding has proven to be a positive outlet for me amid all the craziness I have to deal with as a caregiver. To me, the barn is a place where I can go to relax, get outside in nature, and hang out with horses. Whether I’m riding or not, the barn will always be my happy place and feel like a community I’m forever a part of.
Now that my grandmother is in long-term care, holidays look very different to me, and honestly, they are not something I look forward to these days. This Easter, I had the opportunity to ride. As the holiday coincided with my first riding anniversary, I celebrated by being around horses, and that helped turn what would have been a sad day for me into a beautiful one. I had the whole day to ride two horses and could spend as much time bonding with them as I wanted to. The weather was ideal, I had the place to myself, and both horses were great. By the end of the day, I felt fully recharged and had enough time left in my day to stop over and bring my grandmother some Easter flowers.
When I started back in the saddle this time last year, I had no idea what the future held for me. I remember telling my barn friend that the timing could not have been worse to start riding again, as I was in the middle of packing up my grandmother’s condo every weekend, seeing her nightly, and still working full-time. As things changed throughout the year—her condo sold, I left my full-time job, and more of my time became my own—riding has been a constant presence in my life and helped me cope with the many transitions I’ve endured over the past 365 days. Returning to riding has brought back so many memories and encouraged me to reach out to people I used to ride with many years ago to reconnect and see what they’ve been up to.
As you get older, you realize the important role of community in your life. Perhaps it’s a religious community or the neighborhood you live in, or maybe it’s a community that you’re connected to through a shared passion, like I am with the equestrian world. However you’ve found your tribe, keep those people close because as life changes, they will always be there for you and can help you navigate your next chapter.