Will growing up bring us down.
Understand that in this sport we live in a world of make believe, separate from reality. While other girls played with toy horses, we got the real thing. While other girls rode carpool, we rode thoroughbreds. This is not normal.
I didn’t grow up with personal grooms and imported warmbloods, but I had a pony, which is basically all the same to a 12 year old. A horse was a horse in my eyes, even if he technically was a pony. Then I got my thoroughbred. My parents had always told me that they weren’t going to buy me a horse. Haha, suckers.
I think high school is one of the first places that reality starts setting in. Fresh out of middle school, you’re suddenly surrounded by new peers and new hormones. Horses are no longer “cool”. You know what’s cool? Boys. And drinking half of a beer. That’s super cool. You have the choice to be the weird horse girl, or to be accepted by your peers. Sadly, too many girls choose incorrectly.
But it doesn’t get easier. Let’s say you choose to be the girl who wears jeans and muddy boots to third period… First off, congratulations. Now what? Well you’re a smart girl, obviously you’re going to go to college. This is where we loose some more of our fellow equestrians to that bitch called reality. Going away to school, its pretty hard to take a horse with you. So many equestrians pack up their boots, and call it a day. It was a good one, wasn’t it?
My heart goes out to anyone who had to trade their Stubben for student loans. There’s a lucky few, of which I consider myself to be, who don’t have to give up privilege of smelling like a barn to get a bachelor’s degree. I was truly lucky, the university that I chose has a barn on campus. So some of us ride throughout college, living in our fantasy world a little longer. But the fantasy starts to wear off. Paying for tuition and Tailored Sportsmans can put a strain on your credit card. We compromise, putting our horses needs before our own. Those new Parlantis are gonna have to wait, because I’ve got to buy textbooks and beet pulp.
I graduate from university this spring, and I can feel reality waiting for me, like hungry predator, waiting for its dinner. It’s just around the corner, and I’m not ready. One of my friends told me how she plans to give up riding once college is over, focusing on a career, now that her parents won’t be there to pay for everything. Another friend is off to vet school, Davis, one of the best. She is taking her warmblood with her, because what is a few more thousand dollars in board when she will already be swimming in debt from those student loans. Then there is me. I don’t know what I am going to do.
There is that point in everyone’s life where they have to leave the nest, and make it on their own. It’s scary. And its even scarier to have to do that when you have a 1500lb animal to feed and take care of.
I feel like a lot of older women get back into the sport after they have made a comfortable life for themselves. But I don’t want to grow up, I don’t want to leave this fantasy.
So it’s do or die. Its the pivotal moment in my life. This is the part of the movie where the main character makes a choice that will affect them for the rest of their life, it will define who the end up becoming.
And I just want to go to the barn, ride off into the sunset and run away from it all.