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I was in charge of getting the boys ready for school this morning and then dropping them off. I also had to pick them up from school, Declan at noon and then Jakob at 2:15. It’s not that I never do these things, because I do drop them off at school on days when I too have class, but I am blessed to have a lot of freedom on most days.
My husband, Gary, works from home. This allows him to be available to pick up the boys from school, help them with their homework, and then take them to evening sports practices or Karate.
Since I’ve started endurance training, Gary has been my biggest supporter. I’ve been able to get up in the morning and focus on getting Asali ready for a ride. When out on the trail, I don’t need to worry about getting home by a certain time to take care of the kids. I can focus on training, while Gary manages the boys’ school schedules.
Today, Gary was laid up in bed with his disabled left foot. All I could think was how grateful I was to have a friend, my partner, who not only allows, but encourages me to pursue my dream. Gary has never held me back from anything I have wanted to do and I love him for allowing me to be me. He is my lover, my soul mate, my teacher, my cheerleader.
After the boys got home from school, I decided to take them both horseback riding. I ponied Declan on Forest and of course, Jakob rode Beauty and I rode Asali. It was the perfect evening for a leisurely ride. Jakob and Declan insisted on singing silly songs in the saddle which reminded me of being at summer camp when I too was a child. When they ran out of songs, Jakob told me all about school and the books he was reading. He’s a bookworm, just like me.
At the end of the Ridge Trail, we had to cross a ditch. Just as I had assumed, Forest took a flying leap over it. Declan held on tight, and although the jump scared him a little, he never lost his seat. Later, Beauty spooked when Jakob was pulling a sweater over his head. She bolted, and Jakob didn’t have his reins. He never panicked though. He picked up the reins, turned her, and calmly said, “Whoa.” Then he finished putting his sweater on as if nothing had happened. What little cowboys I have!
Declan on Forest, me on Asali, Caine, and Jakob on Beauty, riding in the new saddle he got for Christmas.
Jakob is turning nine this year, and he is really fighting for his independence. He wants to do everything on his own. He insists on cleaning Beauty’s hooves by himself and he wants to saddle her and do the cinch. While I always stepped in and took over for him, I am trying really hard to stand back and let him do what he can. This is just part of growing up, right? It’s hard to let go, but I’m realizing he needs to learn his own lessons.
Tonight, after we dismounted and untacked our horses, I had walked into the house for a moment, leaving the horses tied to the trailer. When I went back outside, Jakob was leading Forest and Beauty back to the barn, one horse in each hand. I immediately wanted to run after him and help him because he has never led two horses at once before. But then I stopped myself. He was doing fine and I needed to just let him go.
Both horses ended up safe and sound in their paddocks. Jakob gave them extra grain, said goodnight, and walked back up towards the house.
Before the sun went down, he said, “Mom, I think when Dad popped his tendon, it softened his heart. He’s being really nice and isn’t yelling as much.” I laughed and said, “Jakob, I think it’s just the drugs.”
Horses and children, I often think, have a lot of the good sense there is in the world.
– Josephine Demott Robinson
Ice cream after our ride today.