June 11, 2011

Dear Non-Horse People

Do not judge what you do not understand.  This is my life, my decision and my risk to take.  I do not judge you for the decisions you made when you were pregnant, please give me the same courtesy.

So here's the deal, I was thrown a baby shower this weekend (not my thing, let me tell you!), with about 20+ non-horsey people and 3 horsey people.  So 90% of the conversation was all about the baby, was I excited, was I ready, how many do I want (lets see how this one works out first.)  And there was one question I could tell everyone was afraid to ask "Are you still riding?"  I know they wanted to know because every once in a while when the conversation would stray from the pregnancy and horses would get mentioned some brave soul would ask, and everyone around would perk up.

To the non-horsey people my answer was this "I've weened myself off, I still go out and work with him but from the ground."  To the horsey people, they got the truth "I'm still weening myself off.  I don't do a lot but I still ride when I'm feeling OK and he's feeling OK. But it is really really hard to quit hopping on, even if for a short walk."  I hate that I chicken out like that, I just don't want to deal with the opinions and advice.

There was one comment that really got to me and sparked this post.  My mother-in-law was one that got the courage to ask "You're not riding anymore right?" And I gave my non-horsey answer, then another family member announced to the room "OK we can all breath a sigh of relief now!".  You know what??  Screw you!  You think I'm putting my un-born child's life in danger without knowing a thing about it. 

Did I tell you I thought you were an idiot when you let your dad buy your 2 yr old son a miniature horse, knowing none of you knew a thing about horses, or tack or equine safety?  No, I came down when you asked and gave you a lesson on how to put your child on the horse and lead it around safely. Would I ever put my child on a horse that young, not knowing a thing about it, no, but that's not my decision

I think what gets me the most is that horses are still seen as dangerous to the outside observer.  Is there risk involved? yes.  But for those of us who have been around them for years and know their equine partners better than their own family members, the risk is small.  I think I even get a little offended because people assume Dexter is dangerous.  For me that's like saying my child is dangerous.  You've never even met him. 

The reality is, I know the risks.  I'm not in denial, I know there is a chance I could be sitting on Dexter one day, something spooks him and I fall, and God forbid, hurt the child.  But I've wighted the risks and decided its one I'm willing to take.  To not be around and ride Dexter as long as possible is not an option for me.  But you can't tell them that, they don't understand.   "It's just a hobby".

All I can say is I'm glad I have an understanding husband in all of this.  He sticks up for Dexter and knows I won't push my luck.  He's even learning how to pick Dexter's feet for when I'm too big to do it myself.

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