Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Fruits of Our Labor

Riding is about horses, but the horse industry is all about the people.  I work hard to make our barn a safe, drama-free community where riders get a break from the stress and emotions of daily life.  I dare say, the teenagers need this as much, if not more than, the adult amateurs.

I’m sure this goes back to my own teenage years. I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that Overtime, the big event horse I leased throughout high school, went a long way towards channeling my wild-child side. And as important as Overtime, Diane and Fred Peterson, his owners, became my “horse show parents.” They filled the roll of the “cool adults” in my life.  You know, that person who magically shows up with logical advice about the time your parents become impossible, illogical humans you are forced to live with until college.  Without their help, who knows how I would have turned out.

I try to return the favor. I try to be the listening ear when needed and to be the giver of sage, or not-so-sage, advice (don’t change yourself for anyone, learn to drive while eating ice cream, live life for the stories as well as the goals), and sometimes some of it sticks.   

Teenagers have a habit of growing up.  One of the kids from years past is already married with 2 kids, and three others are tying the knot in 2012.  Last weekend I attended one of the weddings.  I haven’t seen Victoria since last June, but the warm reception from both her and her parents confirmed I was as important to Victoria as Diane and Fred were to me. I admit I am sentimentally happy to have been a part of her, and frankly, all of my horse teenagers growing-up years.

I stayed in the area and judged a fix-a-test the next day, and her father stopped by to show me the latest award that had arrived from USDF. “The fruits of your labor,” he called it. 

“No,” I corrected him, “a good grown-up is the fruits of our labor.” 

And that really is how I see it.  My horses, and the people that surround them, inspire me every day to be not only the best rider I can be, but a more compassionate, understanding person. If I can help pass a little bit of this on to our next generation, hopefully they will remember the lessons, both in and out of the stirrup.  

They say it takes a village to raise a child, I'm glad I can be part of that community. Congratulations Victoria and Angel, Samantha and Ryan, and Lisa and Skylar, and I wish you all many happy years together. Now it's your turn to be the village for the next group of young people trying to become good grown-ups. 



  1. You're gonna make me cry... Thank you Ange. I miss the long days at the barn we used to spend together. I remember complaining to you about my mother fairly often and I always considered you like my second mother (the cooler one). You always knew how to listen to my problems and push me with my riding. Not to say we never got irritated at each other but it always worked out with a laugh in the end. I feel like I have grown as a person a lot since we first met and I credit part of that growing to you. I loved all the times we slept in the back of a trailer for a horse show and I miss those days. I will always cherish those years I had with you. I love and miss my other mother. But don't worry you haven't gotten rid of me so easily, I will be back to visit soon! ~VS(B)~