Friday, May. 24, 2024

Peter Pan In Parlantis

I have read enough blogs on parenting, relationships, design and even horses, to know that the easiest way to lose an audience is to paint an unrealistic picture of a utopian life.

Like me, you’ve probably come across writers who tell you all about their perfect kid, marriage, home or horse and then assure you that you could have the same if you just keep reading. 

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I have read enough blogs on parenting, relationships, design and even horses, to know that the easiest way to lose an audience is to paint an unrealistic picture of a utopian life.

Like me, you’ve probably come across writers who tell you all about their perfect kid, marriage, home or horse and then assure you that you could have the same if you just keep reading. 

So, when I began writing this blog a few years ago, I made a vow to myself that I would always be relatable, real and honest. You haven’t heard from me in a while, because being honest was a whole lot easier back when I was doing everything right.

There is a fine line between being real and airing your dirty laundry, and I hope not to cross it. But over the past year, while I was not blogging, my marriage fell apart, and then faced with the harsh reality of supporting myself without the financial safety net of a successful husband, it became clear that my business was not so much a business as a non-profit. 

When I got married at the tender age of 24, riding was a hobby, and one that had been largely put on the back burner. Growing up in the horse business and then riding intercollegiately had honestly burned me out on horses and so I suppose I disguised myself as a regular person… not a horse person.

In short, my husband thought he was getting a well adjusted future executive and mother. But he ended up with Peter Pan in Parlantis. 

He was understandably disappointed. And his disappointment led to mutual resentment that our relationship simply couldn’t withstand. I am mostly sad for our daughter, and while I know she will be affected by our split, she at least has the advantage of parents who get along, which is more than I could say when we were married. 

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So now I have to actually make a living.

You know how to make a fortune in the horse business? You don’t. Thankfully, I don’t need a fortune to live happily, but I do need to be able to support myself and that has proven to be more difficult that anticipated. As a result, Elizabeth and I are restructuring our business. I’m building a new barn, hiring a groom, and hitting the road to go to more horse shows. It’s an exciting and terrifying time!!

I’d love to be able to wrap this blog up with a fantastic life lesson and a pretty bow, but I can’t. I haven’t yet learned all the lessons that I will eventually take from this experience.

But every day I’m in a better place than I was the day before. And fear not, my life is still filled with hilarious misadventures, and I can’t wait to go back to telling you all about them very soon!

Jennifer Barker St. John grew up as the daughter of two hunter/jumper trainers and rode as a junior and on the Clemson University (S.C.) NCAA team, winning the individual championship in 1998. During her career outside the horse world, she showed her Rhinestone Cowboy to multiple amateur-owner hunter championships. You can read her hilarious introductory blog, “Living The Glamorous Life” to get to know her. 

Now, St. John runs Congaree Show Stables in Eastover, S.C., alongside her friend Elizabeth Grove. They concentrate on students (or as, they call them, “minions”) from 7 to 17 years old who do well on the South Carolina Hunter Jumper Association circuit. “Among our greatest accomplishments: teaching them to wrap correctly and properly muck a stall,” St. John said. She balances training and riding with raising her “sweet, polite, usually well dressed but always sort of dirty” toddler daughter Holston. Read all of Jennifer’s blogs

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