In this special Thanksgiving Edition of Oh No There’s Flowers, you’ll meet this fine guy and lady, affectionately known as my grandparents. For the past 16 years they have fed my horse habit and inspired my love of animals. Although I cannot be home with my family today I send my love and thanks from afar to the entire “Oh No There’s Flowers” clan.
Leo and I love and miss you all!
“Dad, what if she like them?” My mom asked.
“Then I’ll keep buying them for her!” My grandpa replied.
They were talking about the months worth of horseback riding lessons my grandparents gave me for my 7th birthday.
As feared, I didn’t just like my riding lessons…I loved them. The first month of lessons turned into two, turned into 6, then suddenly I had been riding for a year. In that time I became totally obsessed with horses. Over the next 15 years I spent weekends at the barn, showed in the summer, leased lesson horses, rode on IEA and IHSA teams, groomed, worked horse camps, captained my college’s equestrian team, rode for friends, bought my own horse, and continued to take that original weekly lesson.
While stuck in traffic a while ago I started reflecting on how a simple month of lessons spiraled into a lifelong career. After considering how awesome my trainer was, the incredible lesson horses I rode, and even the friends I made, I realized none of those were the reason. It was my grandparents.
They did so much to foster my love of horses and animals when I was growing up. To start, Grandpa and Nancy drove me to every single lesson. Those 20 minutes were filled with conversations, questions, and funny moments. My grandpa told me about his time on his grandfather’s farm, riding his cousin’s trick horses, and growing up with 6 brothers and sisters. Nancy shared moments from her florist shop, stories of her grandfather’s trip to America, and lots of good crafting advice! It was hard not to be affected by these stories and I truly feel they were some of the best education I got while growing up.
Oh, and who could forget the a trips to the “Littlest Store In the World!” (a convenience store down the road) at the end of every lesson. I will never forget the smell and taste of a wintergreen patty!
They sat for hours at horse shows (even weathered tornado warnings!), froze in the barn’s “heated” viewing room, and watched lessons in the rain. On Christmases and birthdays I could count on a big bag of horse treats and a something new for the barn. As I got older the talk of me leasing my own horse became more serious. My grandparents came to the barn with spreadsheets and a budget and by the summer I had a chestnut Warmblood waiting for me.
They always seemed game for anything horses and I never remember them complaining. They were always so excited to hear my stories and watch me post around the ring for the 5 millionth time. They were my cheerleaders and turned horseback riding into something I looked forward to every single week. It is because of their love and unwavering support that I became the equestrian I am.
So, today I want to say thank you for inspiring me to ride. I hope you both know the incredible impact you have had on my life and for that I will always be grateful.
This Thanksgiving I want to share the love with the equestrian community. Check out the digital Thank You card on the Oh No There’s Flowers Facebook page. Share it and tag the people who have inspired you to ride. As always please share this post on Facebook, Pinterest, and with family and friends.