From the Ground Up: Remembering Your Why

Ever since I was little, I dreamed of riding professionally. Since before I can remember, all I wanted to do was spend the day with the animals I loved most — caring for them, helping them, and learning about them.

Twenty years later, I might not have the same red cowgirl boots, but I’m still the happiest when I’m with horses.

Nothing has changed over the last twenty years of my time with horses. But at the same time, somehow everything has changed.

I’m not the first to say that making a career out of working with horses is challenging. The hours are long, the weather is variable, and you pour blood, sweat, and tears into physically and emotionally demanding work. I’m always on the clock, receiving late night and early morning texts. I strive to be accessible, flexible, and patient. I love the clients I have and the work that I do, but there are days where I am just absolutely worn out. Some days I miss the love, joy, awe, and wonder that came so naturally to me as a kid simply looking at a horse.

Today was one of those days. I was driving home in the dark — hungry, cranky, and overwhelmed with the amount of work I still had to do. I was feeling a bit sorry for myself, honestly. And then I came across some construction blocking my typical route. I grumbled as I rerouted.

My reroute then took me past the house that had belonged to my childhood best friend and an entire wave of flashbacks hit me… In this house, we spent countless hours setting up courses, galloping around on our two legs and leaping into the air. We mapped out our dream barns in notebooks, and played online games like HorseIsle, Howrse, or Lucinda Green’s Equestrian Challenge. We spent every minute of every day daydreaming about the position I’m in now.

Remembering the absolute certainty I had of my love, my path, and my vision as a kid gave me a fresh boost of energy. I might not have the exact ‘dream barn’ I had crafted for myself years ago (which had me sleeping in a stall) but I have days filled with people and horses that I care about in a beautiful location with a supportive team who encourage my openminded approach.

The days are long, but the work, the people, and the horses are good.

The days are still long; there are still moments where I just want some additional sleep. I still hate working in the freezing Pennsylvania winters. But keeping in mind why we do this — for the love, joy, awe, and wonder that I felt as a kid, and still hold to this day, motivates me to roll out of bed early and add an additional layer to trek out to embrace a new day and new challenges, all for the opportunity to live out my why.