Herd Member | Kelly Wilson

As I was folding my laundry this Sunday afternoon as I usually do, a thought struck me. Usually my laundry is a mix of work scrubs, comfy lounge wear, the occasional "normal" person outfit, along with a heavy dose of riding clothes. I typically average 4 trips to the barn a week, which can make for a lot of horsey laundry. Matching up my various Dreamers N Schemers boot socks is typically the most time consuming part of folding laundry. As I was doing my laundry this past Sunday, I suddenly realizes there was an absence. No breeches, no sun shirts, and definitely no boot socks. 


For those who don't know, my amazing and incredible horse Rio is currently sidelined with an injury- the kind of injury all equestrians never want to hear, and makes their heart drop when spoken: suspensory. So many kind-hearted people have reached out to me with their incredible success stories, so I'm holding out hope. But, reality is it will be a long recovery, and one with no guarantees. 


This means that I am currently in the situation that innumerable riders have found themselves in, suddenly and unexpectedly "horseless" when it comes to ride-ability. How am I handling it? Badly to be honest, but better lately. For weeks after his diagnosis it seemed like I was functioning well, but I was tearing-up/on the verge of breaking down maybe 20-30 times a day. Thankfully, a great friend that I have met through IG finally led me to a break through. She let me cry it out on the phone and talk through my jumbled feelings. It felt like a huge weight had been lifted off my chest. I know that sounds cliché, and maybe it is, but its how I felt. Enough about my feeling though, and more about horses.


With Rio on pasture rest for the foreseeable future, I have been forced to re-evaluate my equestrian life. Don't get me wrong, I have been incredibly lucky to find saddle time on several lovely horses, but it is very different from the role I am used to. Transitioning from "horse owner" aka the freedom to ride as much and whenever you want, to "rider" is very much happening for me right now. I am NOT complaining (again, I have gotten the opportunity to ride some wonderful horses), but the differences are real. My weekday evening rides have essentially become non-existent due to the inconvenience factor. My weekend rides are still happening for the most part, but I am essentially on someone else's schedule for every ride. I no longer have the freedom to go ride my own horse whenever I feel like. If my schedule changes last minute I can't just change my ride time around. 


Do I sound whiny? Maybe. But this is a very real change to my life and it is tough. The best part has been the amazing support system. I have some great friends and family “in real life” that understand my struggle, but the social media community has been truly incredible. Being a part of the Herd of Zebras tribe has meant connecting with other like-minded people that share my passion, and so in turn share my sorrow. I have had so many kind ears willing to listen, and read many gentle messages of hope and support. Having this network of horse-loving people had truly made the transition easier for me. In turn I hope to continue spreading positivity on social media, and to be there for whoever may need that extra dose of kindness in the future.


For more of my journey, follow me on Instagram: @hunky_hanoverian