Day Ten: 30 Day Challenge

Day Ten: How does your family and friends feel about your riding?

That is a picture of my Mom trying to hold on to Gen a few years ago.

So this is a tricky one for me to answer. The friends part of it is easy, the family part not so much. I have a group of horsey friends who are all obliviously supportive of my hobby because they all have the horsey bug themselves. All of my friends who do not have horses are as supportive as non-horsey people can be. They ask after Gen and don’t stress if I have to cancel plans because I have something horsey going on.

The family…well…how would you define supportive? My parents never bought me a horse growing up. They were (and still are) the kind of people who think that it is not logical to spend such a large sum of money on “a hobby”. They just don’t get horses. They helped me lease a horse when I was in high school (I had to work to pay off part of it) and my Dad would drive me to the barn everyday after work which I would count as supportive. On my 18th birthday my Mom pulled me aside and gleefully explained that even though I was still in high school I was now an adult and not she didn’t have to pay for horses anymore! It is not as though they are not good people. I love my parents and anyone who knows them will agree with me that they are great parents…they just were not always the most supportive of horses.  My older brother has driven me to the barn exactly once in my life. He doesn’t get the horse thing…at all. He thinks I am crazy for spending time and money on something “stupid…horses are stupid” (his words not mine).

I didn’t get to show growing up because my parents wouldn’t pay for it. I only got to take one lesson a week because that is all they would pay for. I only was allowed to lease a horse in the summer because that is all they would pay for. It would be one thing if they couldn’t afford it. I would never hold it against them if they couldn’t afford it. They could afford it though, and they just thought that I would grow out of it and they didn’t want to waste their money. They just didn’t get horses and to this day it still frustrates me so much how little support they gave me growing up.

That changed with Gennyral. Gen always wins people over! The summer I graduated college I moved to get my therapeutic riding  certification. I was only an hour and a half away from where I grew up riding and the only horse my trainer had was Gen. I fell in love with Gen and moved him up to a barn by where I was living. My Dad is an avid golfer and there was a course about half an hour away from where Gen was living. My Dad came by to meet him. Gen, being the curious horse that he is, went to go sniff my Dad’s shirt. My Dad got nervous having a horse so close so he quickly jumped back, scaring the crap out of Gen who also jumped back. It stood in the middle of the aisle laughing because there they both were, backs against the wall having scared the crap out of each other!

When Gen got sick our biggest supporter was my Mom. She tried so hard to get involved at that time! Too bad she, like my Dad, is afraid of Gen. When the opportunity came up for the stem cells I had already spent thousands of dollars on that leg and I couldn’t afford to pay several thousand at one the morning of the treatment. My Mom sweetly had come to the horsey hospital with me, when she saw my face pale at the thousands of dollars that I was expected to pay by the end of that day she did the nicest thing EVER. She loaned me the money! How nice is that! I did eventually pay her back, but she never charged me interest and she never even asked for the money. She wanted Gen to get better because she knew it was breaking my heart.

So the spoiled immature part of me is mad at my parents for not taking my love of horses seriously growing up. My more mature side remind myself that they didn’t have to do anything, so I should be grateful for the once a week lessons and the two months of leasing a horse in the summers. I think that my parents are in a good spot today when it comes to my love of horses. That might be because I am old and it hardly involves them anymore! Hahaha…no, seriously, they are much better now. They will come to horse shows, let me talk horses when I need to and are just much more supportive these days. I guess it helps when it isn’t their money right 😛

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6 thoughts on “Day Ten: 30 Day Challenge

  1. Your brother is going to end up having a daughter with the horse bug. We will see how stupid he thinks they are after that :).
    My family is the same way. My mom goes into a coma at the word ‘horse’.

  2. “Family support” is relative. I was always horse crazy but a horse of my own was out of the question. Too expensive, no place to keep a horse, etc. We lived outside Portland, Oregon, and there were lots of outbuildings on our acreage that would be perfect for a barn–if my dad had just found another place for all his work tools, of course–but even taking riding lessons was not in the cards. My parents DID spring for clarinet lessons when I was in high school and every Saturday for four years Mom drove me to the instructor’s house.

    My mother had ridden horses when her father was in the Army. She was on a jumping team–she rode a gelding named Joan King–and I have her riding ribbons. But horses for me were just a dream.

    When I finally bought my own “first horse,” I’d get a lot of the “I thought girls outgrew horses when they were, like, 12.” I didn’t care, though. I was 30 years old, loving every minute of the riding experience, and I had the perfect horse for it. I leased a couple of broodmares and raised a few foals. When I sold everything and the first horse had to be put down, I was out of horses for awhile and now have the OTTB who is waiting for me to get back to riding.

    I don’t have the family to support me–Mom and Dad are gone now and my younger sister apparently has horses, but we are not close and I have a feeling she’s into the Western thing.

    If the horse dream is strong enough, we do what we have to to live it regardless of the naysayers or the supporters around us. I think it’s in our genes–and I feel sorry for people who don’t have the same passion we do–but that’s relative, too. People are passionate for golf, surfing, basketball, soccer, skateboarding, dirt biking … I don’t understand ANY of that, but I don’t put them down for it. Again, it’s all “relative.”

  3. Sounds like my parents 🙂 They had two horses before we moved out of Poland, but it’s been 22 years since then. My dad only saw me ride once, and it wasn’t until last year, but he always asks about Ozzy. My mom is Ozzy’s biggest fan and loves to visit once in a while. She liked him before I did. Despite the fact that both of my parents like horses, it was hard for me to get involved growing up. They didn’t have the money for lessons, let alone shows. My dad wanted me to grow out of it and get a real job. I didn’t start riding til I was 16 because they didn’t want to waste money on something I might not end up liking. I got a four lesson package for my birthday and was allowed to keep going once a week afterwards… as long as I paid for it. I think my dad always hoped my passion would be for sailing.

  4. I was a horse crazy kid, but there was no money. I don’t know how supportive my parents would have been if there was $. I suspect it would have been my problem regardless. That said, when I became an adult and got a horse, my parents were happy for me.

  5. I asked for a horse for every birthday and Christmas while growing up…answer was always no. They understood (I think) how horse crazy I was (and still am). The best I got was a constant stream of horse related books and a visit to Chincoteague to see the wild ponies. They also took me to see the Lippizaner Stallions! That just cemented my desire even more. I finally got my first horse at age 35. I have never been horse-less since! They ask about my horses, but there is no real interest on their part. Thank goodness my hubby loves them as much as I do! 🙂

  6. I was 41 when I got my first horse – a yearling! I grew up asking for a horse every Christmas & birthday – thought it would fit just fine in our backyard 🙂 My parents took me to a riding stable – you know, the western trail riding sort – once a summer while I was growing up.
    Lucky for me, my youngest daughter got the horse bug. We leased two different horses over the years for her until she got her first horse 5 years ago.
    My parents don’t get the horse thing either. They have never seen me or my daughter ride or show.
    Just blessed that my daughter and husband share my horse love!

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