Merry Christmas Eve! It is a stunningly beautiful morning in Wellington. I was wearing just a polo shirt to do morning chores! 😎
My assistant trainer, Kate Tackett, has gone home to be with her family for a few days, so I am taking care of everyone by myself. I am way, way less competent than Kate at this point. Kate leaves the house every morning just after 5 am, feeds and cares for the four mares at Centerline Farm – turns them out, cleans their stalls, cleans and refills their water buckets, gives them hay, sweeps the aisle, dumps the manure way far away, sets up the next meal. And then she’s off to Flowy, who is only a mile away, but needs all the same things, and then has her ready for me at 7:30 for a 7:45 a.m. lesson almost every day. I am busy at home with my kids, so it’s not like I’m relaxing in bed reading a novel and sipping my coffee in peace. (Doesn’t that sound dreamy…) But still, Kate is a force to be reckoned with, and I could absolutely not do any of this without her. This morning I left the house just after 5, and I don’t have a lesson on Flow until 9:15, so I thought I would get everything done and work one horse at Centerline. Well, I finished up there at 7:30, probably a full hour after Kate finishes… And I was worried about Flow, so now I’m grazing her and realizing how slow I’ve become.
While I am confessing things, I will confess that I’ve enjoyed my time down here more than I thought I would. Of course I expected to enjoy the training. I know Jen is fabulous. But I expected it to be a little more uncomfortable. Usually with an intense period of learning, while it is exciting if you can see the big picture, it’s not always entirely enjoyable. Being pushed outside your comfort zone is just that – uncomfortable. But I think I have finally progressed enough as a rider, that I really do enjoy that feeling, instead of feeling frustrated and incompetent.
I’ll also confess that I had a slightly bad attitude when it came to those who spend the winter in Florida. “They’re all rich snobs, whose parents are paying their way for everything.” “Their horses never get turned out, and are probably all riddled with stomach ulcers and miserable.” “They’re all crazy ambitious, and probably completely unbalanced, and don’t spend any time with their families.” These are some of the thoughts I secretly had, and while I’m sure these imaginary people exist, I haven’t met a single one of them. Everyone at every farm I’ve been to has been kind, down-to-earth, hardworking, super friendly, and absolutely loves their horses. The horses are happy, do get turned out for the most part, and are chipping away at the same things as all of us – better basics, better connection, riding them more from back to front.
The neighborhood we are living in is full of a diverse group of families, all incredibly sweet, with lots of kids willing to play with Daniel. It’s fun to go to the coffee shop or the grocery store, and hear four or five different languages being spoken, because there are people from so many different countries here. And while I am definitely not ready to pick up and move here, and I don’t know when or if I’ll spend a winter down here again, it’s a good reminder that most people are good, everyone is trying their best, and I need to keep working at being more compassionate and more open-minded in every regard.
Thank you to those who have been following along, and I hope you all have a wonderful, warm, magical Christmas. This cool dude is pretty excited for tomorrow…