|You are one of a kind, Harley.|
Animals are the best stress relievers. I always felt that way when I lived with my two cats. There was nothing like running my fingers through their soft fur or feeling my "Big Guy" purr after a bad day. He had the best purr, loud and continuous. I did not own a horse until I was married and in my late twenties, but lesson horses fit the bill up until that point. I love how horses demand your full attention. They can make you forget yourself. This is especially true in a lesson or during a challenging ride or training experience. The value of having something in your life that can truly make your brain stop running circles and just focus on the task at hand is immeasurable.
Considering all the life changes that are on the horizon, I wouldn't say that I am particularly stressed right now. I can think of many much more stressful times in my life (high school, college, graduate school and student teaching-it was a bear) than the anticipation of our first child. In fact, this is quite exciting and I feel like we set ourselves up pretty well for starting a family. We are both employed, we have a house with empty bedrooms, and safe cars including a minivan.
By the way, there seems to be a lot of resistance toward minivans. I am not sure why. They are like a truck and family car all rolled into one with better gas mileage than SUVs and a lower center of gravity. Family and friends balk at the thought of owning a minivan until the necessity arises to transport a group of people, traveling baggage, or a large item, and then they like the convenience. Anyway, we have been teased for years for having a van with no kids, so I guess we will finally install a car-seat and ease the confusion of those who have not seen the (minivan) light. My husband jokes that we should get rid of the van now that we will actually have a child.
Since Harley and I have been a pair for while now, we are not at that stage where we are figuring each other out or tackling the next big training goal. The boundaries of our horse-human relationship were established a long time ago and we are very comfortable together. It is our silent companionship that lowers my stress meter and leaves me feeling refreshed after time spent together. I like to think that my horse feels the same way.