Confessions of a Timid Rider: The Barn is My Safe Place

I had a tough day recently. I woke up excited to work on something and have a "day off", but then things took a turn for the worse with some bad news. Keeping busy helps, but when I find myself crying into my nachos there is a serious problem. I love nachos. And I do not cry in public. 


So what did I do? I needed to pull myself together before the kids came home from school and the only thing I could think of was getting to my safe place….the barn. 


There are many reasons that I love the barn. I am lucky that the barn where I ride, Lancaster Equestrian Stables, is almost 500 acres of glorious hills and valleys that are reminiscent of a much less suburban area. It’s truly an oasis in the heart of Monmouth County, New Jersey.


When I fight with my husband, get worried about my kids, or generally need a break from life- that’s where I go. Sometimes with my camera but often just to sit and look over the horses grazing in the valley below…..or like today, sobbing into the neck of my favorite horse, Delight. 



For those of you who have already heard me mention Delight, sorry I'm not sorry. I’m quite vocal in my obsession with my trainer’s OTTB. Seriously, I basically wrote a love letter to him this week, in For The Love of A Thoroughbred. He’s a generally cranky sort and the perverse part of me loves it because his regard has to be earned. I respect that. Today rather than pin his ears at me, he came over the stall door and let me sob into his neck. He even hugged me a bit, which of course made me cry harder. But I felt better. Afterward, I sat on the tack box and just watched him and the other horses. Maybe I talked to him a little too......


The compassion and empathy of horses make for ideal listeners.

The compassion and empathy of horses make for ideal listeners.


I can’t explain it. Walking into a quiet barn and all the horses nicker to greet you. When it’s just you and the horses munching in their stalls or grazing contentedly in their paddocks. The smell of horse and yes, even manure is familiar and safe. It’s grounding, calming, and it is where I find my peace. 


Somehow things don’t seem quite so sad anymore.


Do you find peace with animals? I'd love to hear your comments. 

About the writer: Heather Wallace of Monmouth County, New Jersey is a certified equine and canine sports massage therapist, co-owner of Bridle & Bone Wellness LLC, and equestrian & canine blogger at Bridle & Bone. She is an adult amateur equestrian in unrequited love with an OTTB and has two rescue dogs, Gonzo and Beau. Check out her blog and follow on Instagram @bridleandbone.