Life is weird right now.

Which I know is probably the understatement of the century. But despite all the current weirdness (or maybe because of it), I’ve discovered there’s a number of positives to come out of upside down world around me. And unsurprisingly, they all have a little something to do with horses.

I have so much time for activities (and by that I mean shopping)

The internet has created a countless source of opportunities for our society. It’s put the vast knowledge of the world at our fingertips. We now have the ability to connect and communicate with nearly anyone across the globe. There is, quite literally, a YouTube video or blog post dedicated to every subject under the sun, with the only limitation being your own imagination for search keywords.

But out of all the available options, do you know what my favorite thing about the internet is? The fact that I can shop online from the comfort of my home, without ever having to talk to another person or change out of my daytime sweatpants (as opposed to my slightly fancier evening sweatpants).

Sorry for wasting your potential, world wide web, but life is really tough right now, and somehow finding a great deal on shipping boots makes it all slightly easier to handle.

©Andres Rodriguez

There’s so much time for reflection

The one thing that this quarantine has given me, for better or worse, is time. Time to tackle my extensive to-do list, time to deep clean my house, and time to watch a lot of Netflix. (I’ll let you guess which of those three I’ve done the most).

It’s also given me a great deal of time to sit and reflect on my life and journey with horses. And y’know, as scary as it is to sit and really confront the choices you’ve made and where this path has led you, a little reflection can really be a positive as well. Personally, it’s given me a chance to approach some old situations with more understanding and compassion for others (and certainly more for myself), and to look back with a little more experience, maturity, and wisdom than maybe I had before.

As they say, time heals all wounds. And if it doesn’t, there’s always more Netflix.

©Chih Yuan Wu

There’s finally time for every horse movie. Ever.

Y’know, you would think that I would have gotten bored by now of the “poor misunderstood kid moves to ranch, tames wild horse and wins the big show to save the farm” movie trope. But darn it if I don’t love a movie with some pretty ponies (even if the plot totally stinks). Lucky for me, quarantine has given me ample time to scour my streaming apps and watch every single horse film ever made.

I’m not kidding. Every one. Some of them twice.

It’s also given me time to do other things, like fall down the YouTube black hole of horse videos, or rewatch some old riding footage of myself. I’m not so sure that this last one is actually a positive. No matter how long quarantine lasts, it will not be long enough to make me stop cringing at the SEVERAL videos where I wore men’s cowboy boots to my English jumping lessons.

I’ve had time to become a horse expert

Speaking of falling down black holes, I cannot tell you how many hours I’ve spent reading about horses. And it’s actually pretty awesome to have this kind of time to do research and educate myself. But I’ve also found the downside to this situation. I mean, I’ve certainly taken time to read helpful articles and watch a variety of interesting and educational training videos, but I’ve also had time to get weirdly obsessive over my horse’s diet, read a hundred conflicting articles on a number of her training issues, and diagnose several of her ailments using only internet forums as my guide.

So basically I’ve determined that some time to do research is good, but too much time turns you into a horse helicopter parent.

( James)

I really, really appreciate barn days now

We’ve gotten to the point in quarantine where I’m starting forget what it was like to not wake up in the morning afraid to see the pandemic dumpster fire that is there to greet me. And so, I’ve found that the little moments of joy in life have so much more meaning to me.

I appreciate my morning coffee a little more. A good conversation with a friend is enough to light up my week. One of the things that I appreciate most are my days at the barn.

For many of us, the barn has always been a sanctuary from all the stress and hardships of our daily lives. No matter how bad your day at work or home was, no matter all the other crap that may be going on, an afternoon at the barn, doing something as simple as grooming or hand grazing your horse, that was a sure fire way to make it all a little better.

©Anna Cvetkova

At the beginning of everything, a little piece of me was worried that there would no longer be anywhere that I could escape the stress of the pandemic; that the anxiety that had infiltrated the rest of my life would follow me to my last bastion of relaxation. But I’ve been delighted to find the opposite is true. No matter how bad things get, the smell of a tack room and the quiet munching of hay still makes the difficulties of life seem a little more distant.

So, if nothing else in this time, I’ve learned to appreciate my time with horses a little more. And for that I am thankful.