Before I get to the rest of the story, let me give a little background. I’ve loved horses all my life. I wanted to be a jockey when I was 7 years old. I probably got this idea from a book that I had read, but it seemed the perfect occupation for me. However, by the time I was 10, I realized I was going to be if not already, too tall to be a jockey. There was a brief mourning period (for about a day) until I came to the conclusion that I could still work with horses. I would just be a trainer. Yes. That was it. I still remember someone asking me, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” (For the record, when I was 3 or 4 I wanted to be a missionary, but I wasn’t reading horse books at that time.) My answer was very plain and proud, “A Horse Trainer.”
I still remember the sting of the reply that followed. It was something along the lines of “You can’t do that. You don’t have the experience, etc. etc.” Well duh, I didn’t have the experience yet. I was 10. And isn’t that what little kids are supposed to do? Dream big? In any case, I digress. I may have received discouraging remarks here and there, but I stubbornly clung to my dream and my love of horses despite assurances that I would outgrow it when I was 16. Nope. Sorry. Not me. Nuh uh. Not happening.
I never did outgrow my “horse-crazy” stage, but as I got older, and a little wiser, reality set in. That reality was that I didn’t work with horses that much, my exposure was limited, and it probably wasn’t going to ever work out. It began to be something I had to accept as a non-possibility.
When I was about 20, I ended up going to the Clark County Fair. I was by myself for whatever reasons, I don’t exactly recall, but at the end of the evening, I found myself talking with a member of the Clark County Fair Mounted Patrol. I remember it being dark, and this person was helping direct horse trailers in and out of the large parking lot. It was a really neat conversation, and I remember thinking that it would be really great to be able to be a part of a volunteer organization like that.
Fast forward a year and a half, I was working on finishing up my general studies degree at the local community college and I knew I was interested in joining up with the Mounted Patrol, or at least finding out more about them and the possibility of joining. I began to look up contact information and call some phone numbers trying to get more information. It seemed that no matter how much I Googled, nothing was turning up. I felt very discouraged. At the same time though, God was working in my life and my heart in such a way, that I began to see life in a little different way. I began to understand, with my heart, not just my head, some important truths about His love for me. I had learned that I was really holding onto this ‘dream’ so tightly, that it had become more important to me than it should have been. Through various changes and lessons, I gave up my dream. I gave it up to Christ, because I had learned that it wasn’t even mine to begin with. And I knew that if I could let go, I would find an even bigger peace and joy in knowing He was leading me where I needed to go. I don’t mean to sound preachy or romanticize it but that’s the truth. And while it is rather simplistic, I hadn’t been in a place yet where I understood this.
I still pursued trying to find a contact for the CCFMP, but knowing that if I never did, or never owned or worked with horses for the rest of my life, I was going to be OK. I would be more than OK. Because God was in charge. And I knew I could be happy in that.
And isn’t it amazing how God works? Shortly after I had come to this conclusion, I found a contact for the Mounted Patrol. Her name was Jody, and after talking with her a few times over email I decided to come to the meeting. My first time at the meeting was in January of 2009. And the rest is history. I’m so thankful I joined the Fence Riders (as we are often called). I met so many amazing people there, many of them brothers and sisters-in-the Lord, and have been so blessed by the friendships I’ve made. I’ve learned so much with them and it’s been a really fun time.
What does this have to do with my going back to school? Well, it was through this group of horsemen and women, and their friendship and encouragement that I realized that my dream of becoming a trainer, and working with horses, wasn’t as impossible as I thought it could be. It’s really their fault I’m back in school. (Well, actually, the Lord had a lot to do with it too. :-)