2-Year Update: Choices, Chances, and Changes

After a month apart, JJ was more excited to eat “new grass” in Augusta than he was to see me. Typical.

Well, it’s been roughly two years since my last blog post… there have been a ton of changes since then, but, honestly, I just haven’t had the emotional energy to bother writing about it all. If I’m ever going to write about JJ again here, though, I need to address what’s happened in between.

After a long recovery from his previous sesamoidal ligament tear, JJ was sound and we had gotten back into work. He was doing great, very keen to get going and game to start jumping again. I was really pleased with his progress and felt optimistic about getting back into eventing. Sadly, that didn’t happen.

Some of you may have noticed that the Ride Heels Down physical address has changed from Atlanta to Augusta, Georgia. Yeah… I relocated in late June of 2021.

The reason? Longtime readers will know that Erik has always been wonderfully supportive and my personal horse show paparazzi. Well, sometimes things just don’t work out like you originally planned – we are no longer together.

I hadn’t been happy for years, and I knew that it wasn’t fair to him to be stuck with a wife who wasn’t “all in.” I wanted him to be free to find someone who would love, appreciate, and respect him the way he deserved. So, I left.

I’ll admit, I was scared out of my mind about ending a 16-year relationship. But, I learned a long time ago, thanks to eventing, that scared and excited are the same physiological response in our bodies. So, any time I find myself scared of something, I just choose to say “no, I’m not scared, I’m excited.” And, here, I told myself I was excited to create a new future for myself.

Fortunately, it was an extremely amicable split and we’re still on great terms. I’m so thankful to be able to say that, because I know that’s not normally how it works out, and I do value him tremendously as a person and as a friend.

I rented a townhouse sight-unseen and moved to Augusta – chosen for its proximity to both Aiken (yay horses) and Atlanta (yay my old friends) as well as the fact that I could work part-time at the local dragstrip (yay racecars).

JJ absolutely loves his new barn family and has been having fun showing the littles how he can smile for treats.

I spent about a month settling into my new life and checking out local barns and trying to find a place for JJ, and, very luckily, stumbled across the perfect location less than ten minutes from my house.

The Foolin’ Around Farm family welcomed me with open arms and made me feel like I had been there forever right from day one. They welcomed JJ, too, and have given him so much love that it truly warms my heart.

We started working again, lightly, and at first he seemed eager about it. However, not long after, he started acting funny and was extremely resistant to move forward. He wasn’t off, though, and there was no apparent trouble. I had the chiropractor, dentist, and vet all come out to confirm. He has given me so much over the years, and at the age of 18, I figured maybe it was time to semi-retire him.

So, I cut him back to simply bareback hacking and grazing. A few months later, the vet came out to do his semi-annual hock injections and dropped a bombshell – his hocks were fusing. She told me to give him another few months and that I would see a dramatic improvement in his willingness to work.

And she was right.

So, a few months later, I noticed his attitude had changed for the better and we started riding lightly again – typically 20-30 minutes of work (not including walk) about five days a week, just to keep his fitness up. He’s jumping 3’ courses again easily, and I’m so grateful that he’s feeling better physically and mentally.

Obviously, there is a LOT more I could say about everything here, and I’ll admit it has been an absolutely brutal roller coaster of ups and downs along the way as I try to make sense of completely starting over in life at the age of 37, but that’s not necessarily anything that needs to be memorialized for all eternity on the internet. ;)

Change is painful. Growth is painful. But nothing is as painful as staying stuck somewhere you don’t belong. Do what’s right, not what’s easy.

I’m not sure where the future will take me, but I’m hoping it’ll be somewhere good beyond my wildest expectations… and I’m excited, not scared, that I’ve got a second chance to find happiness.


You aren’t scared.
You’re excited.
Read that again.