I used to be a horse person. That was like a lifetime ago. I think it started when I was young and shy and lived in a rural suburb in Delaware and right up the road from my house was a horse farm of some sort. In hindsight it was probably some sort of lay-up farm for old, retired, or injured horses, as I never saw any real activity going on there – no riding or lessons or training of any sort. I remember the horses had their names on signs on their large paddocks. I used to lean on Speedy’s fence for hours and just watch him graze…his gentle dark eyes focusing my way occasionally to see if I might be holding out a carrot or strand of “better” grass.
The horses were quiet and accepting of me, they didn’t need me to talk or be funny or smart or popular. I could just stand by the fence quietly and eventually they would meander over to me for some petting or head scratching. I think that was the hook for me – the acceptance. The unconditional acceptance, expecting really nothing in return.
Those days started a long phase of my life where all I thought of was horseshorseshorses. After YEARS of begging, my parents finally gave in, and so began the years of riding lessons and horse shows, then horse college, FINALLY a horse of my own, and then a 10-year career as a riding instructor.
I loved teaching riding. I was, quite honestly, a better instructor than I was a rider. I had an eye for what was really going on in both a rider’s and a horse’s body and carriage. There’s a lot more theory to riding than the average person realizes, and I could explain it well in a way my student’s understood.
But like any job in any industry, there are downsides and politics, etc…and when I was pregnant with my daughter I left teaching…and when we moved from our first house that had a little four-stall barn, I let the last of my horses go 😦
I miss the horses very much. They were such a part of my life and my heart for so long. But now…some of my nieces are riders…and yesterday I had the opportunity to watch one of them try out two horses at a good friend’s barn. I felt very comfortable stepping back into the role of teacher, and I was *really* happy to get to shoot one of my favorite subjects while I was there.
I guess everyone “used to be” something that they aren’t anymore. What did *you* used to be?