As I reflect on the last year and look forward to the new year, I couldn't help but reminisce a bit about my youth and my dreams that involved horses. We will all start the New Year with a fresh slate and new enthusiasm as we dare to hope and dream that 2019 will be the best year yet for us and those around us. For those of us that have chosen to work in the horse industry, our dreams get a burst of renewed excitement on this very first day of the year and we are ready to move forward with our plans no matter what they may look like.
When I was very young girl I fell in love with horses. In fact that is an understatement. I was head over heels in love with horses and would do anything just to be close to them. Back in the sixties and seventies they didn't have DVD's or Pay Per View so if you loved watching horse movies you had to wait until it came on television and you couldn't miss it because we didn't have VCRs to tape it. I would look through TV Guide and see what was going to be on for the week and make sure I didn't miss Bonanza or the old westerns that came on. My favorite of course was Black Beauty and National Velvet. I would watch anything that had a horse in it and then dream for hours afterwards about living on a ranch somewhere in the country.
My dreams of doing something in the horse world started very young and after seeing National Velvet for the first time I wanted to jump horses in competition. Elizabeth Taylor made it look so glamorous and all I needed was a horse like the Pie and he would take me all the way to the top. Sound familiar? I believe many young girls have had those same dreams
My father bought me my first horse at ten years old and I was the happiest little girl around. Every day I would ride my bike after school to see my horse and spend hours just hanging out with him. Before owning my first horse I thought I was a good rider but the truth is I had very little riding experience and it took me many months and many trips to the ground to find my seat and balance. The one thing I did have was determination. As I started hanging out with other kids I joined 4H and starting showing. My dreams of jumping had changed and now I was riding western and going to horse shows. I never did very good but I had fun and I was proud of my horse even though he couldn't compete with the professionally trained horses in the show ring. As I grew a little older I became involved in barrel racing. I loved the world of it and of course the speed. My horse was not fast at all (in fact he was extremely slow!) but it was fun. With the world of barrel racing came rodeo and as I became a little older I decided I wanted to make a living doing rodeo and barrel racing. Other girls I knew were doing it and of course there would be cowboys at every rodeo! I was hooked.
As time went on I changed my dream again to horse trainer. I thought for a short time I could be a horse trainer and would give it a try. I had one experience with helping someone work with a horse that was very nervous and would spook at everything. I spent the afternoon working with this horse and realized very fast that I was not a trainer and I didn't know what I was doing. After I graduated high school I was still involved in the rodeo scene for a while and even pondered the idea of going to college to become and equine veterinarian.
Many years later
Fast forward many years and my life with horses is much different than I had ever envisioned. Over the last thirteen years my husband and I have boarded horses in Wisconsin and I have to say it has been quite the journey. We built our business from nothing but empty farmland and a dream. It is not glamorous like the dreams I had when I was young. In fact most of the time I get pretty dirty from mucking stalls and doing the daily chores of feeding and taking care of forty horses. I sometimes look at myself and wonder how I managed to get so dirty during the course of the day. I often think of my childhood friends back in Los Angeles and wonder what they would think if they saw my life here in Wisconsin and how non-glamorous it really is. I laugh every once in a while at how I used to wear high heels all the time and now my clothing consist of work boots and fleeced lined jeans all winter.
Even with all that I think I have the best job in the world. It is not the job I dreamed of as a child or teenager but it is the job that God had planned for me. I still am involved in much of the horse world in different ways but I am truly at home here on the farm. This job has allowed me to write books now which I truly enjoy and I have met the most incredible people through boarding horses and my barn management consulting business.
My dream now is to help others get their horse business off on a strong foundation and help them make their business all that it can be. I have to say that I am having so much fun meeting so many new people from all over the United States and sharing with them my journey and helping them along on theirs.
We all have dreams of what we want to do with our life and sometimes those dreams go in a completely different direction than what we planned. If you are open to what life has in store for you then watch out because anything can happen and sometimes they are even better than you could have imagined. I am so thankful that I never stopped dreaming.
I want to wish you a Happy New Year and many blessings in 2019! Sheri Grunska
Picture above - Me and my horse Rusty in 1973