When my best friend bought a horse a few years ago, I didn’t think too much of it. At the time she was mourning the loss of her father, and horses had always been a passion of his. So because of her life-long love of horses and as a way to feel connected to her father, she bought a horse and started up an equestrian lifestyle.
At that time she and I were living in the same town and were raising our families together, yet she stopped at four children while I kept having more. So by the time her children were in school full time, I still had plenty of little ones at home. Our friendship had always had motherhood as our common interest, but that took a shift as her new hobby not only began to dominate our conversations but also started to take up most of her spare time. I began to feel like I either had to join her in her hobby or find another best friend. So being that best friends are hard to come by, I went out and bought a horse.
Oh, yes I did.
Now, you should know that except for the occasional trail ride with my childhood Girl Scout troop, I had never been around horses. I knew practically nothing about them and even less of how to care for one. But apparently that important fact didn’t stop me from buying a 12 month old Arabian gelding. That’s right. Not only did I buy a horse, but I bought a baby horse. Oh, he was cute, that’s for sure. But completely green. And “green,” for those of you who don’t speak horse talk, means untrained and inexperienced. My horse was green. I was green. Together we made a dangerous pair. But I wasn’t too worried about it. After all, I had my best friend to help me! So I boarded my horse in a stable near hers and looked forward to all the future trail rides we would go on and all the horse talks we would have, and woo hoo! I had my own horse! What little girl at some time in her life hadn’t begged her parents for a pony? I was excited!
But then guess what happened? Within a month’s time my friend acquired three more horses, bought a ranch property 75 miles away, packed up her family and moved, taking her horse expertise (aka my confidence) with her. I bought a horse to join my friend in her hobby only to be left holding the reins – alone! Man, I did not see that coming.
Having never been the kind of person who quits on a commitment, I showed up at the stables twice a day (with 7 kids in tow) and I took care of my horse. I was there to feed him. I cleaned out his stall. I learned to pick out his hooves and groom him. I walked him around the stables for exercise. I even hired a horse trainer to teach me how to handle him safely. I was being a responsible horse owner and doing all the right things day in and day out, and I was learning a lot in the process. But something was missing, and it wasn’t just my friend.
Passion. Where was the passion for what I was doing? Tending to my horse each day quickly became more of a have to than a want to, and the truth was I didn’t need (or want) another chore. I was caring for this beautiful animal mainly out of obligation, and that wasn’t fair to him or to me.
After about a year of what seemed like endless back & forth trips to the stables, I finally admitted that I was in over my head trying to live the equestrian lifestyle. I simply didn’t have the time or the passion for it. Luckily by that time my friend was settled in after her big move and had graciously offered her ranch as a home for my horse. I gladly accepted. He has lived there now for the past eight years, and he is thriving. And my friend is living her rancher lifestyle, which is where she was meant to be, and she is thriving, too!
As for me, I’m happy and content visiting my horse once or twice a month. I’ve realized that while I like horses, I am just not a horse person – and there is a big difference! I’ve also realized that it’s perfectly okay for my best friend to have a hobby that I am not involved in. It turns out I didn’t need to own a horse to stay connected to her any more than she needed to have more babies to stay connected to me. We were simply at different stages in our lives, and our friendship eventually adjusted to that. I am sure that in the future we will both go through other life changes, and our friendship will again have to adjust; the best and strongest of friendships always do!
Having kept a journal from the time she could write, Katrina Roldan has a passion for storytelling. She is the author of the popular blog They All Call Me Mom where she shares the joys and trials of raising a large family. You can keep up with Katrina via her blog, on Instagram, and on Facebook. She lives in Southern California with her fire fight’n husband and their ten children.