What Defines You?
Some recent events in the blogosphere coupled with discussions I've been having with friends have gotten me thinking about what it is to be a horseperson, and how we so often let our sport define us as human beings.
Equestrians are, admittedly, a special breed of people. We do crazy things and make crazy sacrifices for the sake of our sport and our animals. We live, breathe, and dream horses. There is a unique spiritual, emotional, and physical connection that we feel to horses. Nothing else quite compares to it.
But what happens when someone who has defined themselves for years as a horseperson finds themselves having to give up horses? Or discovers - horror of horrors - that they just don't feel the passion they once felt?
Who are you without horses?
Or, for that matter, without your career?
When all that once defined you as a person is stripped away, do you know who you are?
It's a lot heavier of a topic than I usually discuss on the blog, but I think it's an important one for a lot of us to consider, since we are involved in a sport that is so all-consuming.
I can hardly remember a time in my life when horses were not a part of it in some capacity. I started riding lessons at 10 years old, but had been asking to ride for years before that. I rode in my once a week lesson every week without fail, and was heartbroken when I had to miss a ride. When I was 16 I got the opportunity to lease a horse and teach beginner lessons at a local barn, and I was in heaven! My best friend Paula and I had free rein of the farm, and rode together every day. I graduated high school, and went on to major in Equine Studies in college, loving every second of it. After college, I worked for the United States Equestrian Federation, and now I work for a real estate company that sells horse farms. Clearly, I'm also still riding. In the next few years, Michael and I plan to buy a farm of our own and bring Dino and a few friends home to live at our place. My closest friends, aside from two childhood buddies, have all been brought into my life through horses and riding. Horses are the long-term plan for my life.
But what happens if that plan changes? If for whatever reason, I can't be involved in horses anymore. Do I lose my identity?
Big philosophical considerations here!
For me, while it would clearly be a devastating, huge life change, horses don't define who I am. First and foremost I'm a believer in Christ, horses or no horses, and that gives me identity and defines my outlook on life and the way I live and treat other people. And I'm still the same stubborn, quirky, outside-the-box, slightly reclusive person I've always been inside the barn and out.
So, food for thought: What Defines You? Is it horses? Or is it something else? Something to chew on this Wednesday morning!