I'm not generally one to remember or acknowledge an anniversary, but I have a couple that I keep tucked away. Every year they come around and I usually close my eyes, and hold my breath for just a moment, to let the memory into me and keep it in my chest to soak. This particular day, ten years ago, was the day of a horrible horse accident that I was involved in, and essentially ended not just my horse’s career, but my own. I rode the rest of the summer on autopilot, not considering for a moment that this accident would or could end my future with horses. And part of that is true- nothing could ever change how much I love them, how much time I spend riding them in my head, yearning for that oily earthen smell in their coats. But over the course of the next year of my life, I went from being wholly and singly determined to work with horses for a living to virtually walking away from all things equine, and not looking back for a long time.
Time healed a lot of wounds, and working in the tack department at Callister’s and befriending all those tough cowgirl spirits brought back a flood of old feelings just in time for me to move to Virginia and connect with horses on a whole new level. In my couple of years there I got to attend multiple national and world level horse shows, brush elbows with my heroes, ride a few truly great animals, and was even offered an incredible job working at a world renowned stable, which I turned down.
This July 14th, I had my first of a few bridal showers. I was indeed showered with love and thoughtfulness by new and old family alike, and tried to absorb the contrast of this day and night to the one I had ten years ago, sleeping in the barn next to my paralyzed horse and wondering what was going to happen her, and to me if I lost her.
That accident led her to a new life- she healed to a place of comfortable living, and got to be a mom to a lot of beautiful babies instead of competing in horse shows, which I think was in fact a better life for her. And me? Well, it only took me 10 years longer to find a suitable stablemate of my own. But the first stages of celebration for Dan and mine’s wedding couldn’t be a better way to commemorate that day. Because for the first time in a long time, this day is about more than looking back. It’s about how being with Dan only makes me look forward, and is already helping me to realize dreams from that very day that had seemed so lost.