The move back into Clearwater Farm was remarkably seamless. My brilliant staff took all our stuff from Morningside in one trip, and all the horses in two more, and that was it. We were back!
But that didn’t mean we were Home.
Making this place Home has taken much longer. First, there was finding everything. We only took essentials with us on our three-month road trip, which meant we had to find all the non-essentials. The extra double-ended snaps. The crossties. The polo wrap racks.
Then, there’s finding a place for everything. The barn is essentially a completely new space; places where things really felt like they belonged before don’t exist anymore, or have better places to be (which doesn’t stop me from trying to find them in the old places).
There’s also the fact that, technically, the barn is NOT done. The crucial stuff, and even a lot of the non-crucial stuff, is in and gorgeous and wonderful, but there are still a lot of stupid-but-important things left unfinished, like the installation of crossties in the new grooming areas, putting up the drying racks that let us hang wet blankets, and some of our new all-weather paddocks (the finishing of which has been hindered in spades by 40-degree days and 20-degree nights and rain, now accompanied by a wind chill today of 1 degree. The “all-weather” designation is really only reserved for the finished product, not while they’re in production.) And while everything really is in good shape, there’s the inevitable list–however brief–of things that aren’t quite right, that don’t work. No hot water out of one sink. The signal from our wifi and land line telephones not making it into my office. A handful of switches that no one’s totally clear on what they turn on.
We welcomed a new employee to the team, a recent University of Georgia graduate and FEI rider named Ferris, who has fit in brilliantly, but there was the inevitable getting her up to speed. We also immediately went to capacity on horses–20 on the property at the moment, with one more on its way here–all of which need working every day.
And as if it weren’t enough, I leave for Florida in less than a week. Hello!
Needless to say, there was some insomnia going around. I was a particularly pleasant character, snippy and rude, something I’m not remotely proud of. I’ve fortunately surrounded myself with people who a) tell me when I’m being a schmuck, and b) like me enough to forgive me. But I’m still just a little overwhelmed and restless. I look at the shelves in my office, half-filled with accomplishments and accolades of old, but also half-empty, and I feel that publish-or-perish feeling. (Though I did fix the phones and the wifi, so at least there’s that.)
Opportunity is a funny thing. I’m well aware of how unbelievably, incredibly, unfathomably fortunate I am to have this place, these horses, these people. But it’s also a Big Responsibility, and I don’t just mean in the day-to-day affairs of making sure that 20 horses and their people are healthy, safe and advancing. Having a farm like this, having horses like I do, raises the burden of proof of my career. If I perform well, teach great lessons; it’s not exemplary, it’s expected. And if I fail, well… to fail with all the advantages I’ve been afforded in this life? An embarrassing situation, for sure.
With great power comes great responsibility, and great expectations. I’ve got a high-powered farm filled with great horses. The bar is high. I think I can clear it, just as soon as I remember where we put the clean towels.