This I Believe

Julia - Loveland, Colorado
Entered on April 23, 2009
Age Group: 30 - 50

I Believe Barn Time Keeps You Sane

This belief formed when I was a child, with my first pony Sabrina. Like most ponies she was a little on the nasty side and bucked me and my friends off on a regular basis. Other horses followed Sabrina. While my non-horsey friends were getting into trouble, I focused on my studies during the day, and spent the evenings and weekends at the barn. I was never happier than I was when I was with horses. But then I went off to college, got a job, got married and my life was consumed by all things non-horsey. It took some time before I managed to find my balance with the help of the Barn.

The barn provides a balance to corporate America. Work is abstract, the barn is grounding. All day long I function in a world full of action-items, meetings & conference calls, email and technology. When I leave the office I enter the horse world. Just being in the barn environment, grooming the horses, turning them out and watching them run and interact, even cleaning stalls, reminds me that the world really isn’t only technology and traffic. The barn is tangible.

The barn is about being present. The horse is a living, breathing being with its own individual personality, likes and dislikes. Some things make him relaxed, other things make him anxious. To ride well you need to be fully present – you need to be THERE, at one with your horse. If you aren’t present you can get hurt. When you interact with horses you try things, make small changes, then listen, watch and feel for a response. Being forced to be present is an excellent way to balance a work life where you are constantly analyzing the past and planning for the future.

The barn is about relationships. This is where a shared passion becomes a community. Bring together a mix of people with different backgrounds, income levels, riding abilities and equine disciplines and you have a wonderfully supportive community. Sure there can be cliques and competitiveness, but when a horse is in need of a trip to CSU (local large animal hospital), multiple people come out of the woodwork with a truck and trailer ready to go. No one cares what I do for work, whether or not I got a promotion, or did well on a recent presentation. It’s not important. How is your horse, your riding, isn’t it a beautiful day, wouldn’t a martini be nice?, this is what matters. The barn is my social life and these friendships formed around a shared passion are hugely valuable to me.

So that’s why I believe that barn time keeps you sane – horses and the barn provide a balance to our work lives, force us to be present, and provide a healthy supportive community.