While living in North Texas my favorite expression became ‘Cowgirl Up!’ The Urban Dictionary defines Cowgirl Up in this way: be your own woman, forge your own path, take responsibility for who you are and what you do. This seemed much more possible when I was in college. Like so many twenty-somethings, I believed that the world was my oyster; I was going to change the world. In some ways, I believe I did that, just not in the way I had imagined. Instead of joining the Peace Corp., I got married to my best friend; instead of working as an international peace keeper, I became a high school social studies teacher, and had three wonderful kids along the way. Regrets? No way! I’d do it all again in a heartbeat. For twenty years, life kept me busy and, in the blink of an eye, I hit middle age.
When I say I hit middle age, I’m not joking. It was as if I had awoken from some frozen state only to realize that I was no longer young. Where are the little babies who would spend hours upon hours snuggling with their mom while listening to bedtime stories? The toddlers who would spend lazy afternoons picking dandelions in the front yard, proudly presenting me with a bouquet of wilted weeds? I’ll tell you where they are: they’re up in their rooms, plugged into phones and computers. And, while they can no longer snuggle on my lap, they continue to make me a better person each and every day. It is my daughter, Emma, who I have to thank for opening up my eyes to a world of possibilities at the age of 48. It happened one day, as I was bemoaning my persistent gray hair, and the plethora of wrinkles that have taken up residency on my face. This wise sage, at the ripe age of 13, was able to change my entire outlook with this simple phrase: don’t let age define who you are. She was right, of course. I was letting my age dictate who I was and what I was capable of doing. Well, no longer.
Maybe it’s true, maybe 40 is the new 30, and 50 is the new 40, but as I creep ever closer to 50 there is a constant reminder in my head of all the things in life I wanted to do, but still haven’t. Some of these things in life I’ve had to come to terms with. For example, I will probably never speak a second language. This is not due to my inability to learn another language, but simply my unwillingness to spend hours studying a second language in order to speak it fluently. As we age we decide what is truly important and carefully choose those things we are willing to devote our time and energy to. Family, job, and physical well-being takes up most of our waking hours. But, when we close our eyes and dream, there is always something that we wish we could do. For some, it may be singing opera, for others running an ultra-marathon. For me, it was horseback riding.
Welcome to my equine adventure, and what an adventure it is! I did not grow up around horses, and I certainly did not start riding at an early age, although I did have a few experiences early on that I will share with you at a later date. This is simply my journey into equestrian life, a journey that I did not start until I was well into my 40’s. Whether you are reading this because you have a passion for horses, would like to learn how to ride but don’t know where to start, or are simply looking for inspiration to start something new, it is my hope that you will discover that you are never too old to chase your dreams.