Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Best Investment Ever Made . . . Was it worth it?

Two of the biggest and best investments Cowboy and I ever made as a couple were . . .
Private School
and . . .

Train a child in the way she should go and when she is old she will not turn from it.  Psalm 22:17 (paraphrased)

When our daughter was 8 we bought our first horse his name was Jet Sail and he was to be the "family" horse. (Warning don't think buying a "family" horse satisfies.)  Within 6 months there were 3 in the family and within the year  our family had grown to a total of 4 horses, two dogs and two cats. 
Jet Sail ended up being Jennifer's horse.  He was with us until Jennifer was 15. (What God showed us and gave us throug Sail is another entire story.)  Never having owned or even been around horses we put both the kids in riding lessons and we bought and read every book we could get our hands on.  We went to seminars and trainings.  We asked questions.  We watched people we listened we learned.    We kept busy. 

When  we had to put Sail down we were not in a position financially to replace him and so Cowboy gave Jennifer his horse.  (in photo)  The kids had been riding for a few years and were ready to start traveling and going to shows.  And Jennifer and Buck began working together and became a team. . .
. . . Backing up a little I got ahead of myself.   Sail was in a boarding facility until our second horse joined the family.  The kids took lessons at the barn and were with other kids and learned a lot.  When Pal joined the family we made the decision to look for land to lease and so when we moved the horses we were then required to go twice a day to feed.  I would take the kids to school run by and throw grain in their faces (the horses) and then go about my day which usually included going home and sewing or going to a quilt class.  And then in the afternoon I would pick up the kids and go back to the barn. 

I remember many days watching Jennifer lay on Sail's back while he ate his dinner.  She would be eating a Taco Beuno burrito or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.  Then there were days that she would sit in his stall and write her spelling words in the dirt while I was in the round pen with our son working and training.   This was our daily routine.  We would leave and go home for dinner do homework and then go to bed.  On Saturday mornings our first stop was the donut shop.  Sail got 6 do nut holes every Saturday.  Oh I forgot he usually got some of the PB&J. No burrito's though!  (Before you get too worried he was 32 when we put him down.)

Once Jennifer began to ride Buck she excelled.  We began doing small local shows.  We all continued to study and both kids became really interested in Reining.  Reining is a very high level type of riding.  Jennifer's horse Buck was not built to be a reiner.  He was actually a very well bred cutting horse (a cow horse).  It was in his blood.  In fact we took him to our church rodeo...Yes you heard that right our church had a rodeo every year.  In fact as I remember the first time Jennifer sat on a horse she was 3 and it was at the church rodeo. Oh I have to find the photo's she had the cutest little denim skirt with a bib top and a blouse and boots!  I made the skirt and blouse I sewed all her clothes when she was little.  ...Back to Buck he got sick at the rodeo because he could not stand not working the cattle.  He was 'high strung' when around cows.  When he wasn't he was the sweetest most docile horse. 
My kids spent everyday.  Everyweekend with their horses.  When our son (the oldest) was old enough to drive every day they went alone to the barn.  I never worried about them.  The only thing I worried about was him running out of gas.  Which he did on a regular basis because he hated to spend his money on gas.  Thankfully God was always watching over them and it only happened right close to the barn and a neighbor would always take him for gas.  That was sure a thorn in Jennifer's side! 
Oh the stories I could tell you.  I am sure you can see me smile as I write this. 

But the thing that I want to share with you is that I believe 100% that God brought these horses into our lives.  I believe without a doubt that they were the tool he allowed us to have that brought Thomas and Jennifer through the high school years and through college.  The love and devotion for these horses kept them from getting involved in the wrong crowd.  From getting into trouble from making mistakes or bad choices. 

It was the combination of going to a Christian school and having the horses I truly believe that grew them into the godly Man and Woman that they are. 

Believe me it was not from the parenting that they received.  Oh at the time I thought I was the best parent.  Now I realize how prideful I was. 

And, through all this God had a plan that we would never have imagined.  The 2nd horse we bought was the paint Pal.  He was our sons horse.  Pal is still with us but he doesn't live with us anymore. Last spring we donated him to a Children's home.  And then, in August Jennifer was looking for a job.  Searching in the inter-net she found a posting for a riding instructor.  She got the job. She worked the first session of classes and this month she was promoted and now runs the riding program.  And, the Children's Home is faith-based.  Part of the program is Training a child in the way he should go.  Each days lesson includes a Bible verse and Bible activity. 

I wanted to share my story today with you to encourage you if your child/children have an interest in horses that the best and biggest investment you could ever make is to seriously think and pray about adding to your family.  I know that most of you guys that come here are home schooling parents.  And that most of you have the same faith beliefs that I do. I know many of you have smaller children.  And I know that today is so much different than it was wow 20 years ago when Jennifer was 8.  And I know that it is much more harder now than then. 

One think I forgot to mention Jennifer played soccer and was on a select team.  Thomas played baseball and his team went to state his Junior year.  His freshman year he was moved up to the varsity team and was the 2nd string quarterback.  My kids were very much into team sports.  And through team sports they learned alot. 

But it was through loving an animal that they learned much more. 

Yes . . .
. . . it was worth it!  And I know that if God leads your family to make the decision to add to your family with a horse it will be worth the investment. 

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