I get it, and I have even said it to my own kids on numerous occasions.

"That's it! No more pets!"

Usually this is said after one of the dogs has had an accident in the house or perhaps started eating their way through an envelope of my "mad money".

Just look at those faces though! You can't stay mad long.



Anyway...just to set things up here...when our oldest daughter asked repeatedly over the years for a horse my response was always "No. Horses are expensive, we know nothing about them, you don't know how to ride, what if you fall off, you don't take care of the animals we have now..."

 "Oh I will take care of it, I'll clean up after it!" well that goes out the window after about week two. Our last two dogs were a Labrador and a Sheltie, while the "pick up" of two Chihuahua's is much better, the thought of having to scoop the "apples" a horse left behind...heck no!

So, you can imagine my own surprise the day I asked my husband if we could adopt a rescue horse...

Her name is Roxy and she is what helped me to embrace what was inside of me.

 (You can read about Roxy in my blog posts: She Picked Me - Part 1 and She Picked Me - Part 2)

Roxy - our beautiful rescue horse at Motherlode Ranch where I spend most of my days
It was that day and a moment in time that I will never forget. Something came alive inside of me.

Let me explain...

I have gone from saying to my own kids, "That's it, no more pets." to "OK so when we move to our own ranch, I want to get Peacocks, a Cow, which of course you can't let me near or I will have it named and doing tricks...chickens and well we need to get a pony for Tessa, Steven, you said you wanted your own horse...." (deep breath)

You could say that I found my inner country girl.

For the record, my definition of a country girl is: someone that doesn't care what others think, is strong, believes anything is possible, believes in themselves, believes in hard work, loves the out doors, animals, believes there is some good in all of us, has faith and is willing to take a huge leap of faith to follow their hearts. Simply put...she is unique and is determined.

For instance...I now drive a truck and can parallel park. (which for those of you that know me and have had to jump out of the passenger seat to parallel park my car for me, this is a huge accomplishment!) I know it sounds trivial but I have a new found confidence. See pic below.

A perfect parallel parking job!
I have connected and bonded with Roxy on a level I never thought possible. I have bonded with all of the animals on the ranch...the horses. dogs, peacocks....It has been an amazing experience.

Rocket, Tanner and Roxy is hiding in the background

Fred the Peacock
Sometimes I feel as if I was the one rescued. She calms me, she makes whatever is going on in my life melt away as soon as I see her. We truly have a special bond.

The only other animal, 'er person, that can do that is my husband. (Maybe my kids when they aren't being sassy.) I cannot thank my husband enough for helping to make all of this happen. His unconditional love and support has brought us to where we are today.

I love this man!

Roxy opened up a closed door in my inner being. I can not explain it any other way.You hear about these special bonds between humans and animals, but it's hard to understand until you experience it yourself. She came into my life at a time when I needed it the most, even if I didn't realize it myself. 

Reality is that life gets hectic; we are running place to place with our kids, worrying about bills, college, schedules, our marriage starts to take a back seat to work and the kids, date night practically disappears, you start to lose focus on what truly matters in life. You need something to help pull it all back together again.

For me, Roxy coming into our lives is what helped me embrace my inner self, helped me and my husband find more time to be together and has opened up another exciting chapter in our lives.

My husband and I
My husband and I are now thinking about what "we" want and trying to focus more on "us". That doesn't mean we leave out the kids. Our kids are a part of this experience and our youngest is very much involved with Roxy and all of the animals. And yes, she even shovels stalls!

Tessa and Roxy
Tessa and Baby the chicken

Tessa with Tanner and Rocket

Tessa and Stoliver (short for Stinky Oliver - trust me it's a good name)
Yes the kids have needs and wants, but we have those to. We need more quality time together for one and we have always wanted land, but have put it on the back burner and tended to all of those other needs in our lives.

We have finally had our "ah ha" moment our "epiphany" or whatever you want to call it...we realized that there is no time like the present!

In just the two shorts years in which we have had Roxy in our lives she has given and taught us so much. I feel as though each day is a lesson, a gift. She has opened up my eyes, my heart and my soul.

She has given us strength and taught us that we can do more than we think we can. I never thought I could bridle a horse by myself let alone own, ride and take care of one. It is a massive animal but for some strange reason, I never feared her nor did I ever second guess that we were supposed to be in each others lives. (don't look at my riding form in this pic!)

She helped me through the death of my father. I became his main caretaker, a task I thought I could never live up to. It is trying both mentally and physically, it is scary, you cry a lot, and at times you want to walk way because it is so hard to see your loved one that way. And just when I thought I was going to break down, my husband would give me a hug and tell me to go out and see Roxy.

Of course I would feel guilty leaving my father but I would go see her and the other horses. I would cry, talk to her as I groomed her, we would connect and somehow it melted away and gave me strength to get through. Of course my husband was my rock, but he somehow knew that she could take it off of my mind for awhile.

She has given us her trust; taught us to fully trust our instincts. Even though she is a 1,000 pound plus animal (she's a lady, I can't give away her exact weight) I trust her with my life. She trusts me with hers. I feel deep in my bones that she would never do anything to intentionally hurt me; and we've bonded with all of the horses like this.

Now that doesn't mean I haven't been bitten, stomped or nudged across the barn, but if anything I have become one of the herd. I just bruise a bit easier than they do. I've realized that I can do more than I thought I could that's for sure.

Below is just a few seconds of a "snuggling" session I had with her in her stall. The trust she had in me was humbling. I could have laid with her for hours.

She has given us love; taught us that love crosses over the animal - human line to an extent I never really knew existed. When she is moody I can calm her down. When I am moody, she calms me down. When I am sad, she senses it and moves in for the snuggle.

She has given my husband and I another reason to spend more time together. We enjoy going out to   the barn and working with her and the other horses. Helping to build a fence, shoveling stalls, grooming a dirty horse (why did I fall in love with a white horse!) putting out hay, hauling around water buckets...I enjoy it more than I should probably admit. But there is something about working with your hands and doing things you normally would have never thought you could do. It is self gratifying to say the least. My Brooklyn born hubby has embraced his country side (we all have one trust me) and we both enjoy just being out there together. We watch the horses and talk about how we will enjoy it all even more once we find a ranch of our own. 

Bath time - Rocket
Bath time - Roxy and Tanner

My husband and our youngest with Rocket

Tanner, Roxy and Rocket

But this is not just about how a rescue horse changed my life and now we want a ranch of our own. It is about finding something that sparked the fire within us.

We all have the strength to accomplish what we set our minds to, we just have to believe in ourselves. Whether it is taking on a new job, taking care of a loved one, trying something that you've always wanted to do or perhaps something you thought you would never do like...adopting a rescue horse. 

The point is, we need to be open minded about what is put before us and seize the moment when that spark ignites.

So go out, open up your heart and your mind, consider the possibilities and find something that makes you embrace what is inside of you. 

For me...it was a rescue horse named Roxy. 

Y'all come back now ya hear!