Long before I was a horse trainer, I was a period house restoration contractor.
There’s a saying among contractors: “You can have it good, quick and cheap. Pick two out of the three.”
I’ve always said that if you love to ride and to garden and to work (and you don’t have staff), you can also pick two out of the three.
Last week, we were gifted by a surprise visit from dear old friends who create and care for some of Long Island’s most beautiful gardens. The wife comes from a polo-playing family and loves horses. We walked around the farm together and she told me how much she misses having horses in her life. Her two out of the three is gardening and work.
If you were to visit my farm, you’d know immediately which two out of the three I picked.
I still miss gardening, as my friend misses horses. I think of gardening, at its best, as an art, like riding. Although I’ve never asked her, I suspect my friend feels the same.
So this, along with winter coming, got me thinking about horses and horse people and flowers.
As gardeners know, annuals are plants that complete their life cycle in one year. They are often the quickest growing, largest and most spectacularly colored flowers you can grow.
Similarly, those who have their horses at home, who don’t have indoor arenas and who give their horses the winter off, are among the most driven to make the most of the rest of the year. Many of them are among the most dedicated and knowledgeable of horsemen. I’m proud to say that some of them are my clients, and I built my business to cater to them.
Perennials, those plants which grow year after year, also have their analogy in the horse world.
Perennial horsemen are those who will always have horses in their lives, in one way or another. Just as perennials must be divided to thrive, and the roots of rhizomes cut and replanted, there are often generations of horsemen in the same family.
And then there are the biennials. Those are the plants that grow for one year, and then produce seeds from which new plants grow.
Many horsemen are biennials, looking back on years when their lives were devoted to horses, and for whom the seed reblooms later with a new horse or a renewed interest in riding. Careers, motherhood, illness or financial difficulties can lead people to give up horses in their lives if not in their hearts.
I realize that with this line of thought I’m risking the kind of ridicule heaped on Barbara Walters after her interview with Katherine Hepburn…
That’s okay. I’m a biennial who sometimes resembles an annual and other years resembles a perennial, like the hollyhocks that grow each year along the side one of my outbuildings.
How about you?
Great post Katie; I would say I’m presently struggling with the “pests and diseases” of horse, house and garden life, but like all good gardeners, you learn from the season’s losses and failures and hope for better weather next year!
Great to hear from you! I’m sorry that this year has been a struggle. I miss your blog posts, insights and photographs of your beautiful gardens. You’re so right that all good gardeners learn from the season’s losses and failures (I love how you express that), and that’s why gardening teaches us about life and helps us endure life when it gets hard. As horses do…and old houses, too.
Elaine L. said:
Having lived in New England most of my life with my horses in the backyard made me an annual. Now that I have relocated to the sunny climes of Fl I will have the ability to be more active with my current horse (when he gets down here) all year long. But I was born a perennial when God gifted me with this “grand passion” and when old age makes physical involvement impossible: I want to die hanging over the rail of some horse function just watching all the pretty horses go by…………….
I know that nothing will give you more pleasure than being able to do things with your horse all year long. Dini says “Hi!” and is feeling great, can’t wait to join you in Florida, and says he wants another Hilton Herball please.
Elaine L. said:
I am working on the herb balls. I checked a couple of days ago, but no news on the arrival of the smaller packs.
Don’t worry. He still has almost a month’s supply!