The Horses

I have lost my passion and love of riding somewhere in this mess. I have loved horses and riding since I was a little kid. I first sat on a horse at 3. From there I have spent a lifetime working and playing around horses. We live, breath, and dream horses here. Somewhere there was a dramatic shift. I remember it was in the midst of a bad depression. Somehow, the passion never returned. I don’t get the same sense of exhilaration when I ride. I had to go back to playing polo to get that rush. But, I think that is the aggression and adrenaline of the full contact and speed, not the riding. Regular riding no longer did it for me. It still doesn’t. More than anything, I want that passion back. I want to love it again.

Do we ever truly lose passion for something we have loved for a lifetime? Is it still there somewhere? Waiting in the dark, just dormant now. Has it hidden itself away? Waiting for the time and place to return to me. I don’t have an answer. I only wish and pray it isn’t gone. Horses saved me. They were there during a period of my childhood where all hell broke loose. My family came apart. I had the horses. It terrifies me think about how bad it could have been. I had a savior in the horses. I had a big steady neck to cry on, and a place to retreat to. Some of the fondest memories of my life were constructed around the time I was 10-11-12. They helped offset some of the extreme pain and sadness that was flooding my life. I believe without it I would have retreated into a shell, never to be able to function again. Between books and horses, I had an escape. A place only I knew.

During that period the barn was within biking distance of the house. After school I would be at the barn till dark, weekends I was there all day. There were other kids my age. We would ride and groom and play. We’d clean stalls and sweep. It was an oasis amidst the emotional sand storm that was my life. It allowed me to escape all the terrible emotions. I loved the horses more than anything. They don’t ask you for much. Respect, kindness and consistency. That is what they thrive on. Not much different from a struggling kid. They needed exactly what I did. Together we found our way. Those years spent in a barn taught me so much about life. About hard work, discipline, and respect. I learned to do a job, and to be dependable. All this at 10. This is what horses offer. I also learned about loss. Horses tend to get sick, and can die suddenly. I learned the lessons of death and dying from the horses.

Because they played such a pivotal role in my life, it is all the more painful to have them fade from emotional importance. I want to be passionate about them again. I want to be riding everyday, and enjoying it. I need to feel that connection again. A good friend made the analogy about workers in ice cream shops. When it is a job and you see ice cream everyday, you tend not to eat it anymore. I don’t want that to be me and the horses. I know I just see the work, and the stress, and the pain. I want to see the wonder again. Those blissful days where time stood still, and only the horses existed. Where is my oasis now?

I think everyone needs an escape. A place to call their own. For our sanity, and our well-being, an oasis is needed. Where is mine? How do I find it again?


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