It's been an interesting road, morphing from suburban housewife to very rural farmwife. I know DH would disagree with portions of this story, but hey, he can get his own blog and then tell it his way.
I grew up in the eastern suburbs of Cleveland, but my maternal grandfather had a "gentleman's farm" of sorts, and I've been around horses since I was old enough to be propped up in the saddle and not fall over. We lived about two hours north of the farm, and went down to visit on a regular basis. I adored riding with Grandpa, he knew so much about animals and plants and trees, every ride was a lesson of one sort or another. My dream when I got older was to move back home after college and start breeding horses again in the big barn down there (great-grandfather bred high end American Saddlebred horses as a hobby.)
But one thing led to another, and even though I worked as a groom/trainer at several barns on the East Coast, it didn't happen (long story for another post.) But the farm back home still remained, and one year when DH and I were home for vacation, we took the DDs down there with us, and went riding on the four pet horses that were still there at that time.
The girls were about 5 and 7 at the time, not old enough to go out on a trail ride, although DH dearly wanted to. He hadn't all that much experience with horses, and I wasn't comfortable taking them out on a long ride on horses who didn't get ridden all that often. So we just rode around and around in the arena, and left it at that.
Later that year, we discussed taking riding lessons, comparing it with the idea of buying a small sailboat (we were living in Duluth at that time, right near Lake Superior.) The decision we made then changed our lives forever. A friend told me of a riding instructor she'd met that she thought I'd really like, and I called her. She lived outside of town on a small farm with horses, goats, and poultry (gee, sounds familiar!) We signed DH and the girls up for lessons, and it all began.
Cynthia was a great person for them to learn to ride with. She has a wonderful attitude about teaching and horses, and passed those values along to my family. She introduced us to the concept of barefoot trimming and not stabling horses but letting them roam the pastures 24/7, which for me were very foreign concepts at the time. She helped us get involved in dairy goats, and re-introduced me to poultry (my grandfather and great-grandfather had poultry on the farm at one point or another.) And when we moved to northern KY, everything we'd done at their farm prepared us for being where we are now. So we owe her a debt of gratitude for all she taught us, and for pointing us in the direction we ultimately wanted to go.
It always baffled and bemused my mother, that this city-bred girl would wind up on a farm at 45, but really, if she'd thought about it more, she wouldn't have been surprised. I've never been a girly-girl, and always cherished the time spent on the family farm with her father. Mom's gone now, but I like to think both she and Grandpa are looking down on us here from heaven and are proud of all we've accomplished.
So folks, remember, follow your dreams, you never know where they'll lead you!