There’s so much more to a barn than meets the eye. For many of us, our barn is a place filled with memories and emotions, struggles and dreams. Leah Hinnefeld takes a quiet moment to reflect.
I was finishing up at my barn yesterday and I looked over my shoulder to the view below. Nothing special really — and certainly not an amazing photograph — so it must be the sentimental time of year that got me asking the question…
If these walls could talk, what would they say?
I have been on my farm for 17 years. I spent all 17 years either showing or raising young horses. That’s a lot of horses, a lot of good rides and my fair share of not-so-good ones. Needless to say, there is plenty of material for those walls to have some good conversation.
Those walls are filled with the pure joy surrounding the first day I brought Polo to his forever home. They hold the raw pain of the day that he and I said our final goodbye. My dad’s favorite barn chair still sits in front of one of those walls — even though he passed away over four years ago.
The walls on the right protected Logan when he was stall rested for six weeks with a near fatal case of pneumonia. The walls on the left are my favorite because I can see those stalls from my house. The wall in the back has been splashed with its share of sweat-filled water that was sprayed off the body of a hardworking horse.
Those walls watched me dance the silliest of dances to teach Milo to accept quick movement. They embraced Julian, my very first foal when he finally arrived on the farm. They have been been decorated with ribbons that came from Wellington to Lexington.
I have leaned against them in contemplation, slid down them in defeat and even kicked one once… perhaps twice.
As I took a moment (something I rarely do anymore) to just soak in the moment, thoughts and emotions flooded over me:
Hope and disappointment
Anticipation and realization
Progress and setbacks
Reward and regret
A lot of joy and some sadness
Thankfully more smiles than tears
They have housed my most valuable teachers and my best of friends. We have weathered a lot together over those last 17 years. Those walls hold the story of my growth as a rider, horse owner and more importantly as a person.
Leah Hinnefeld is a lifelong equestrian who spent over a decade studying hoof health and metabolism in horses before turning her attention to rider fitness. Leah is a personal trainer certified by the National Academy of Sports Fitness and offers Virtual Fitness Training for riders and horse lovers. You can learn more about how to get fit to ride at http://theathleticrider.