BY SARAH BRZOZOWY
Jobs, homes, children, partners, responsibilities. Adulting takes a toll on our time, and on our stress levels. As an Assistant Superintendent of Schools, a wife, and a mother of two heavily scheduled children, this is my daily grind. Luckily for me, riding my horse was always a source of de-escalation from a tough day, and a gentle escape from reality. The sad truth? I didn’t realize just how important those moments are until it was too late. I wish someone had told me that I needed to prioritize them.
I have always been too generous with my horse. Whether I offered him to leasers, allowed him to be a part of the lesson program, or stood aside while someone else showed him. I always assumed I would ride him “tomorrow” or “on the weekend” until those rides didn’t come.
The most perfect horse in the world is a 23-year-old Holsteiner gelding named New Castle. He was imported as a very young horse and had an impressive show jumping career winning countless championships and other awards. He was back on our farm at Avon Valley Show Stables in search of a new partner. I wasn’t necessarily looking for anything. My daughter had her own pony and I was content in supporting her riding career—whatever that looks like for an 8-year-old.
I purchased New Castle in January of 2018 with the support of my head trainer, Emer. She always believed I deserved something that was my own and made this happen for me. Over the next three years, we had so much fun until I handed him to my daughter to help her continue to grow in her riding.
In August 2021, while warming up with my daughter for a USHJA class at HITS Saugerties, the unthinkable happened. Everything about that jump was perfect—the pace, the distance, her position, his knees… everything. But on the other side of the jump, my daughter and her trainer heard the snap of the sesmoid bone in his left front leg. It was at that moment I didn’t know if I was going to have to put him down, or if we could wait until we got home to Avon, CT.
7 months later his bone has healed, and he’s turned out into the sunshine daily. He’s as happy as he can be. The only difference? He is fully retired, never to carry a rider on his back ever again. And that’s when the reality hit me. All of those times I said, “I’ll ride tomorrow” or I told someone “It’s OK, you can ride New Castle” instead of riding him myself.
So, horse friends, for my sake, never give up a chance to ride your horse. Whether you’re too stressed, too tired, or too distracted. Do your horse and yourself a favor and turn off your phone, climb in the saddle, and escape from reality for a while. You will never know when that next ride will be your last, and you’ll desperately miss it when the time comes.
This Post Brought to You by: Exhibitor’s