• Cara Van Leuven

Penny for Your Thoughts

Last week I promised big things. That was fulfilled Friday when Penny became my new horse. After only two rides I knew she was the right horse. Of course, the extremist in me didn’t bring her to her new home immediately. Instead she headed to the National Equestrian Center for a show. Although she’s still a bit green, I could not have been more proud of her.

It’s not just having a super high quality horse that excites me; it’s her kindness that throws me for a loop. She has a job to do – and that’s undoing a lot of the psychological damage Julio (my former Thoroughbred) caused me. When Penny did finally come home to the stables, I stood in the indoor arena and turned her loose. Instead of kicking directly at my head, she walked toward me and rested her nose on my shoulder when I turned my back toward her.

In other news, away from the horses and shows and city, I’m trying to learn and accept the country dress code. People out here work and do a lot of difficult, dirty jobs to fulfill. The Calvin Klein of the country is Carhartt. Skirts have been replaced by flannels and boots don’t understand fashion out here. Here’s the messed up part – I really don’t care what people are wearing, but I do judge them.

I was at the gas station the other morning when I flinched as a flannel Carhartt-clad man in boots walked in with me. I was POSITIVE I would be given a sob story then asked for change. Instead I was greeted with a Good Morning. It’s obvious I have issues to let go – left over from living near an impoverished area and trying to train an angry Thoroughbred with a mean streak.

Other things are funny and easy to laugh at (until you realize you may be part of the joke). Sunday Tom and I stopped by a hodge podge bar that had outgrown itself three times, continuously compensated by adding another room in a haphazard manner. It would be easy to get lost just asking to use the restroom.

Inside this so-called bar we ordered a pulled pork sundae. As we waited for our food while sitting at the bar, a mason jar showed up. That was dinner. In the meantime line dancing was taking place by serious cotton-heads, there was a kid’s 8th birthday party and half of the 8-year-old guests joined us at the bar. A mullet that would have put 70’s shag rugs to shame decorated a man’s head who sat next to us.

What a world. Country living. Equestrian lifestyle. City scars. City longing (see Tom). It seems to all be falling into place and the both of us are becoming happier and more at peace.

Chores are calling. This aint loft living any more.