On a day when we’re all thinking about new beginnings, I’m writing She Moved to Texas’ last post.
For a while, I’ve been contemplating my relationship with blogging and social media in general. At first, I blamed it on online habits. The landscape has changed. Are blogs dead? I don’t know. They’re certainly increasingly rare in a society that’s rapidly losing our attention span. And I’m not above it. Want to know what app I spent most of my time mindless scrolling on last year? TikTok. And I think those 3-minute videos are just way too long.
But it’s more than that. I’ve changed. A more correct way to phrase that would be, I’m changing.
I first started writing here when I moved to Texas in 2010. It was a fresh start for my little family—me, my husband, Tim, and our two dogs. Things had not been good for us living in MA. We both drove into town determined to find some happiness in the 300 days of sunshine a year this city offers.
For a long time, we did.
When I got Simon in 2012, it became mostly a blog about a horse. But as any equestrian knows, horses are about so much more than horses. I wrote about failure, fears, success, dreams, wants, frills, and anxiety. This sport is incredibly hard. I don’t have to tell any of you that.
Looking back, I thought I wrote a blog about horses and riding. But really, it was more about perseverance and love. The cast of characters grew with new dogs, horses, barn friends, and blogging buddies. I shared them all with you not only out of habit but deep admiration. Because I love this sport, the friends I’ve made through it, the animals I’ve been privileged enough to share my life with. I still do.
Ever since Simon died, it’s been hard for me to write here. I go in spurts, but I can’t maintain it. For a long time, I beat myself up about this. Told myself stories why I couldn’t write for SMTT. It’s because I should be working on “serious” writing instead. It’s because I get paid for writing for other media outlets. It’s because I don’t have enough time. Because, because, because…
But really, it’s because this blog is a long, messy, book. It’s the story of a girl that moved to a new city and got back into riding. One that loved a complicated man. It’s a book about a horse that helped hold her heart when it hurt the most. This story has so much loss, but just as much joy.
I think every time I’ve tried to re-start the blog, the book really, with the newest character, I fall short. I thought it might have been because Poet and I ended up not being the right match, but really it’s because the book has ended. The book of Lauren, Tim, Eliot, BT, Pascale, and Simon living in Texas is over. Writing that sentence, staring at it now, makes me cry. Even all these years later, I hate that it’s over. As difficult as it was, I loved that life. I would have held on to it forever. But damn, wasn’t it a good story?
For a long time, maybe years, I’ve been unable to accept that part of my life is over. This blog is a part of that. I kept trying to plug away at it with a new spin, new adventure, new horse, but it hasn’t felt like home (if home can be a digital little space on the internet) since Simon. I haven’t been able to maintain the joy of writing here. So, it’s time. It’s been time.
Since this might all seem a little melancholy and final, let me say that I’m definitely not done. Not with writing, and certainly not with riding and adventures and maybe even blogging. 2021 was a very rough year for me. The impact of everything that has happened, all the losses plus a pandemic, settled on me—and settled down hard. But I’m okay. I wasn’t for a bit, but I am now. Am I great? Who knows. It’s hard to imagine what “great” feels like, but I am okay. There is laughter. There is joy.
Of course, everyone is most interested in the horse. And I don’t blame you! When I dropped off here, I was mid-horse shopping. In a twist of events I never thought would happen, I imported sight unseen off video. Me, huge OTTB advocate “broke” equestrian whose heart horse was a free TB with terrible hocks, now owns an imported Oldenburg. Bananas!
This is Crusero, aka Captain, a 2012 16.3hh Oldenburg gelding, Cortez x Stakkota (Toulon) for all you bloodline folks.
He is the best thing that happened to me this year, and one of my greatest sources of joy. Bred by Lewitz stud and presumably sold as a yearling, he was owned by an older adult amateur man and showed the 1.10m jumpers locally in Europe. I don’t know his full story. He has no rated record and although I have his Oldenburg papers he was never branded or officially registered that I can tell. Somewhere along the way, I think he fell through the cracks and ended up at the reseller I bought him from. None of this matters much to me.
Captain isn’t a “perfect” horse but he is perfect for me. Even though he is nothing like Simon, every now and then he does something that reminds me of my beloved nerd horse. When that happens, my heart pretty much explodes with warmth. Like Simon, he is extremely kind and wants to do the right thing. I call him a cruise ship because he is long. This makes him kind of hard to ride, not because of any naughtiness but because he needs a lot of nuanced communication to keep that big long body moving properly. But that’s okay because it gives me so much to work on.
I never feel unsafe with him. My jumping confidence is slowly coming back. We’re in a great program, and both getting better. It’s odd though. I’ve sunk so much more money than I ever thought possible into a show horse, and have less desire to show than ever. I know we’ll get out in the ring, but there’s no rush. Until then, we’re having fun and improving together.
As I rattle off about Captain, I remember how easy sharing my horsey world with y’all is. That will continue in some ways. I Instagram a lot on my horse account, @laurenlovesapony, which features quite a lot of Captain content. Moving forward, I may use that more as a mini-blog platform when the mood strikes. And I’ll probably blog again on a personal level, but it won’t be here.
This blog has given so much to me. I never considered it “serious” writing, but that isn’t fair. It helped me hone my voice. It has gotten me jobs and opportunities I wouldn’t have had otherwise. In large part, it helped me get into graduate school for writing—a dream I had since I was a teenager. But more than the accolades, it’s a digital archive of my best—and worst—moments. I can look back into those times whenever I want, with a smile or a deep sigh. It connected me to so many people I consider true friends. It opened my world and my heart.
The hardest part of writing longform is the beginning and end. The last sentence you leave readers with needs to be powerful. It should linger with them. It should tie back to themes you established throughout the book. I can bust out a curtain line (that sentence that ends a paragraph or section that ideally feels like a little bit of a gut punch), but I suck at endings. When you write memoir, or blog, the ending is never really the ending. It’s a fight with yourself to get the last word in.
So I’ll just say this—I loved it all.