Hey there, kiddo.
Man. Twelve-years old, huh? What a great and terrible time of life. You’re getting ready to head into the sixth grade, you’re trying to figure a lot of things out and, on top of everything, you’re the weird horse girl at school. And now, you’re getting awkward letters from your future self!
Life is crazy sometimes, isn’t it?
I can’t help with the other parts of your life, but I can give you a little peace of mind about the horse thing. I know you spend a near unhealthy amount of your day thinking about horses, and part of that is daydreaming about what life will look like when you’re finally all grown up and there’s nothing holding you back from your dream horse life.
So about that…
I’ve got some good news for you, and I’ve got some bad news.
First, a bit of bad news. I hate to tell you this, kiddo, but you’re still the weird horse girl. Only now you’re slightly taller, and you’re the weird horse girl at work instead of school.
The good news is that you’ve found a whole bunch of other weird horse girls, and you’re all pretty good friends. So you don’t care so much about standing out anymore, although you still don’t tell your colleagues how much time you actually spend at the barn.
The really good news I have to share with you today is that your one ultimate dream, the thing you’re hoping and praying for over everything else—it happens. Eventually, someday, you do get a pony.
In fact, a number of ponies (both tall and small) will come and go through your life during the years, and you will be completely convinced that each one is the beautifulest/smartest/bestest pony in the whole world, even when you’re well into adulthood and shouldn’t use terms like “beautifulest” anymore.
The other other good news is this: You know that feeling you have right now when you walk into the barn and you smell hay and leather and horse sweat, and it’s just the best thing you’ve ever experienced? That also will never change. You will always find a little happiness no matter how many times you smell it.
You’ll continue to get excited to see a horse, too. Whether it’s your own you’ve seen a thousand times, or it’s just a horse in a random field that you spot as you drive down a country road, that thrill of seeing and being around a pony will never change for you. Remember that, for when you have days that are a little harder than you think you can handle.
Okay, so now on to the bad news.
First, you do not own a 500-acre farm with a whole herd of Appaloosas and free-roaming Mustangs, like you’ve been planning and dreaming about your whole life. It turns out it’s surprisingly expensive to buy a house, let alone a house with that kind of land and a barn and riding arenas. Also, someday you’ll learn about a term called “property taxes,” which will continue to put a damper on the whole situation.
I should also give you a heads up that eventually, when you’re about 15, that daydream will start to incorporate a very rugged (but hot) cowboy with a heart of gold.
This also does not happen for us.
I feel like I really should just get all the bad news out of the way here at once, so here’s a major spoiler alert: A pony never shows up on your doorstep for Christmas or a birthday, no matter how many times you write about it in your diary or how often you leave not-so-subtle hints around the house for your parents to find.
You’re about to work your tushy off for a number of years, working off lessons and leases, cleaning stalls and taking on extra hours at your various jobs, all so you can eventually afford your very own dream horse (or really any horse at all). I know sounds like a whole lot of misery right now. But it turns out to be kind of a good thing in the long run, because there are few moments in your life that will compare to when you finally achieve everything, and experience the feeling of watching your first gelding come strolling off the trailer.
In fact, your riding life is going to end up looking a whole lot different than you expected it to. You’re not going to end up in any sort of horse profession and, honestly, there will be some years that horses take a complete backseat to other events in your life and career. You will be a little sad about that at the time. Unfortunately, it turns out that part of being an adult is making hard choices.
Adulthood isn’t all taxes and responsibilities though. For example, you can online shop for sparkly horse tack as much as you want (which is honestly pretty awesome).
A little part of me is sad, because if I were to show you the life you lead now, I know that you’d be a little disappointed in me. We eventually get to a point where we don’t ride nearly as much as we wish we would, though we tell ourselves in our head that we’ll try harder tomorrow. It’s a little hard to explain, but life tends to get busy, or we have to run errands, or sometimes our back hurts for no obvious reason at all and we just can’t bear sitting in the saddle today.
And some days, we don’t ride because we’re a little more ok with simply hanging out with our horse while he slowly grazes in the soft evening light.
I like to think you’d forgive me for at least that one.
It’s not all bad, by the way. I am so terribly excited for you right now, because you don’t know it, but when you leave for horse camp this summer, you’re starting the first in a long series of horse adventures. You have so many incredible experiences ahead of you that you wouldn’t even dream were possible.
I don’t want to spoil anything, but you’re going to meet many wonderful horses, and jump so many things, and best of all, you’re going to meet some of your very best friends in the world at the barn. And then, one very specific day, you’re going to be galloping a horse along at sunset, and you’re going to be so overwhelmed with how grateful you are for your life with horses that everything suddenly seems worth it.
So while we don’t have a stable full of champion jumpers to ride under bright lights in front of packed stadiums, and while we don’t spend our days running a lesson barn á la Saddle Club with our husband cowboy Zack Morris, we do get to do some pretty cool things in the meantime.
And the coolest thing of all, is that even though things didn’t turn out how we planned, we actually don’t mind it one bit.
Future (Weird Horse Girl) You