Welcome to the Horsey Life

My goal in creating this blog is to share some of the knowledge (and wisdom) I’ve gathered over the past half-century or so of my own horsey life.

Think of this as you’re home away from the barn.. A place to learn, and laugh, and grow. A safe place where women like you, like us, can explore the myriad of facets of our horsey lives.

Who I am, where I came from, and why I’m here

My name’s Penny Hawes, a life-long lover of horses and teaching people about them. I’m now in my 60s, but I started riding when I was about 10, got my first horse at age 12, belonged to 4H and Pony Club, then went to England after high school and took the British Horse Society Assistant Instructor’s Certification at the Talland Equestrian Centre. 2 years later, I moved to England after marrying a lovely man I met while in the UK.

I taught mostly kids on Thelwell ponies, but some of the kids’ Mums who’d always wanted to ride decide to start lesson as well. They’d always wanted to ride, but circumstances didn’t allow it.

When we moved back to the States, we leased a farm and started our boarding, training, and teaching business. Eventually we bought a fixer-upper farm with 42 stalls on 42 acres. (When I say “fixer-upper” I mean “fixer-upper” as in “the-indoor-ring-had-collapsed-and-every-time-it-raomed-there-was-a-foot-of-water-in-the-stalls-fixer-upper”.) My husband and I taught dozens of lessons per week, and I also trained and competed dressage horses.

As I began teaching more midlife women who were new to the Horsey Life, several of them said they’d like more than just riding lessons, they wanted to learn more about the other 80% of the horse experience, so I created d a 6-week unmounted course called Find Yourself on a Horse.

The course covered all the things that come up when you start or re-start riding in your midlife. We talked about how our strengths and challenges were magnified when dealing with a sensitive 1,000-pound prey animal, and how they could judge their own mental state from what was mirrored to them by their horses.

Now, if you’re like most “women of a certain age”, you’ve been societally conditioned to avoid risk and public failure. And when you’re learning new skills with the aforementioned 1,000 lb animal, the fear of looking like an idiot can overshadow the fear of getting injured.

My goal with the Horsey Life is to help you learn and grow, and to remember that everyone else is so busy trying not to look like an idiot that they don’t have time to see/judge you.

One reason why birds and horses are happy is because they are not trying to impress other birds and horses.         – Dale Carnegie, How To Win Friends and Influence People

What to expect

While this blog is geared to midlife horsewomen, it’s particularly pertinent to those of you who are just beginning your horsey life, or just picking it back up after years away.

Some of the posts will be under the “Horsey Life 101” category, aimed at women new to this Horsey Life, and some will be categorized as “Welcome Back”, created for those of you who are getting back in the saddle (metaphorically & literally) after a life-gap. The lines between the two are somewhat blurry, so feel free to jump around and explore posts that interest you.

While teaching is the core of what I plan to accomplish with the Horsey Life, I hope to teach with humor and humility, growth and gratitude. And to remind you that it’s never just about the riding.

Comments? Questions? I’d love to hear about your Horsey Life! Please say hi in the comment below!