It’s My Life – Chapter 13

Working at the equine feed mill not only helped me pay my bills, but fit my horse oriented personality. I spoke to horse customers all day while expanding my knowledge on equine nutrition. My co-worker had also attended a college with an equine program and was lucky enough to own two horses. She boarded at a local therapeutic riding center and worked there part time to help offset the cost.

When “Jen” announced she was moving out of state and needed to find a replacement to fill her position at the barn, the thought had not occurred that it would be me who would fill this spot. The position would allow for one horse to be boarded at no charge in exchange for am and pm feedings on Saturdays and Sundays. Jen saw this as the perfectly opportunity for me to buy Baby Doll.

My offer comprised of using the money I had already paid on the half-lease to be used towards an agreed selling price. The balance that remained would be made in installments. The stable manager relayed my offer to her owners and a deal was made!

Multiple people in my life made owning a horse again possible. From the kindness of the college and Baby Doll’s owners for accepting an offer from a just starting out in life college grad to a saddle fitter who allowed me to make payments on a saddle that I would have otherwise never afforded. It all came together and I was now the proud, excited owner, of a highly temperamental chestnut mare!

My relationship with Ted had it’s ups and downs. We were such different people yet somehow just continued to move along from day to day. While my passion had always been horses, his passion would change frequently. With each new “passion”, he would throw himself 110% in. There were salt water tanks with expensive fish. Water filtration systems that flooded our apartment and residents below us, not once, but twice. There was paintball and tournaments. There was online gambling in which thousands of dollars were lost. These were just within a few years. With each passing hobby, we became further in debt. Ted continued to find what would make him happy until it didn’t, and on to the next hobby he’d go.

Our arguments mainly revolved around our finances, but then began to spread to the horses and time I was spending at the barn riding and working. My weekend schedule was becoming an issue. It was solid commitment each morning and evening on Saturday and Sunday, plus I had to work at the feed mill on Saturdays. It didn’t leave much time to go anywhere far or make plans with friends. I loved to be at the barn. Cleaning stalls, feeding, bringing horses in and out was in my soul. And I was finally a horse owner once again! The barn was a place for me to calm my mind and be around people and animals whose expectations of me never changed.

Ted’s parents were anxiously awaiting us to set a date. Neither him or me were making any steps towards finalizing our commitment to each other. Our relationship was rocky but Ted’s parents were unaware. They couldn’t wait for us to marry. To help nudge us along, they offered to pay for our wedding completely if we set a date with the next year. It was a wonderful offer and after discussing it over, we set a date and the planning began. Let me define what discussing it over to actually meant: we weren’t planning to break up so why not just get married? Good grief Sara.

When Ted and I began discussing purchasing a house, the market was high and the banks were approving loans well over what people could afford. What we were pre-approved for and what we could actually afford were quite different. The houses he chose to look at based on our pre-approval were not only stretching our budget, but blew it to pieces. I don’t recall how I convinced him to settle for a modest more affordable townhome, but it happened. Together we made too much money to qualify for any assistance, but Ted alone could. We were not married yet so it made sense for the house and loan to go in his name. The house was a definite upgrade from our apartment (that he flooded) and a great start to building equity! I felt it was step in the right direction.

We were so excited to be homeowners! What better thing to celebrate buying your first home than getting a puppy! This little brown fluffy chubb stole my heart. He literally went on every car ride, every trip to the barn, and yes even to the feed mill. Some dogs have that unique ability to see into your soul. Bryant was one of those dogs. Little did I know how special he would be to me that first day I met him.

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