The Last Chapter

The Last Chapter

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.

Photo © Heather N. Photography

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.

Photo © Heather N. Photography

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.

25 thoughts on “The Last Chapter

  1. You will forever be that blogger that inspired me ♥️ I’m so excited for you and this has been an amazing experience for all of us like every good book is. I can’t wait to follow this new story even if it’s only in pictures. Good luck Lauren, we love you.

  2. I always love reading your writing, Lauren. Hope to one day be able to read one of your ‘books’ in print! 🙂

  3. “As for me, I had the time of my life” — an ending worth pinching (this one is from Stephen King). While at first it hurts to know there won’t be more here, I now realize you are, once again, showing the way through life’s changes. Thank you so much! And happy sailing with the Captain.

  4. I’m a long time reader – I’ve always enjoyed your writing and honesty through the good times and bad. Best of luck to you!

  5. Another gray! I love that he is different from Simon, but can still remind you of him.

    Thank you for this final chapter and for sharing your life after moving to Texas. Your story will resonate with me always. I hope to see your book in print one day.

    Good-bye and best wishes for your next adventure.

  6. Thanks for sharing so much of you with us. I’m over-joyed that you found Captain and are finding joy and confidence in riding again. Cheers!

  7. Well. Thanks for sharing your life and times with us. I have so enjoyed your articulate writing and your unflinching honesty through the highs and lows. It is also nice to have the closure of a final entry- so many former faves just go silent for weeks, then months, then years and one wonders how the latest issue was resolved.
    I do wish you the best in your next volume. Captain seems like an excellent choice. Perhaps he and you deserve a book of your own. I would read it.

  8. Your courage has been inspirational to me. I almost never comment on any of the blogs I read, and I know to the writer, it might feel like no one is out there. But you definitely have people out there who care.

    What a kind and beautiful horse you have there. Best of luck and good times with him in your life.

  9. Thank you for letting your readers know that you are going in a different direction. So many blogs I see have not been updated in years but with no explanation for “what happened.” It leaves the reader with an unsettled feeling. So I appreciate your notice here. Congrats to you and Captain on finding each other. I look forward to catching glimpses of you both on other platforms.

  10. Thank you for sharing so much with us all — your journey has been an incredible story to follow. I’m so happy you have Captain, and it’s been awesome to watch you two blossom together and to see the joy come back into your life:)

    I’ll be looking for your byline. xoxo.

  11. I have loved, laughed & cried along with you; you have the most authentic voice I have ever heard. But I’m not an Instagram user so goodbye & all the very best for your future.

  12. I haven’t been a reader from the very beginning, but I have loved following all of your adventures. I’m so glad you’ve found Captain. Cheers!

  13. I found your blog a few years ago and I really enjoyed reading it and about your adventures. Your writing style is wonderful. The new pony is beautiful, the picture above with that Texas sky is incredible. Thank you for your blog and best of luck in the future!

  14. Thank you.
    Thank you so much for everything you have shared in this space. Your journey has helped me so much along mine.
    I don’t know how to thank you adequately or enough for all your grief posts because your openness and candor eased my passage through my own.
    I wish you nothing but the absolute best for the future and look forward to peeking in on your happiness with Captain.

  15. I will miss your blog but so excited to keep following you on Instagram and your occasional write up on the Plaid Horse. So happy you have Captain!!

  16. You are a wonderful writer and this has been the Last Horse Blog Standing for me. The end of an era indeed. I look forward to cheering you on on Insta and wish you and beautiful Captain all the very best!

  17. Wishing you all the best in your future and all it holds. May you be Happy and find pleasure in all you do. Captain looks like a wonderful mount for you and I’m glad you finally have another perfect fit. If you’re ever headed to Houston again drop me a line and we can meet up and likewise vice-versa. Best of luck and enjoy the ride!

  18. Thank you for everything you’ve shared. I hope you leave this blog up as I often find comfort rereading some of my favorite posts. You touched more people than you know.

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