Hilary Moore Hebert: Dressage and the Art of Renovating


When we moved to our new farm two years ago, it was easy to imagine that the next few years would be hard work, but the end was tangible. Month after month, we chipped away–removing old wire fencing, putting in new fencing, pulling up the barn floor, redoing the support columns, adding more pasture space, putting in electric and water, adding stalls and automatic waterers, fixing the outdoor arena, excavating for the indoor, adding another run-in, taking down the bank barn, putting up the indoor, moving power lines…. and the list goes on.

On the way to being “finished”

Around the time that we demolished the bank barn foundation, I noticed the fencing on the “oldest” pasture needed repairs. The more I looked around, the more I started noticing things that needed work (not to mention the truckload of grass seed and flowers/shrubs we will need to be putting in come spring) and that is when I recognized that the work will never be done and the list was actually infinite. I would like to believe that I am OK with this and I thank dressage for that.

What is dressage but a constant, never-ending renovation of quality? When one thing is “fixed” you move on to the next thing. Maybe in the process something falls into disrepair, so you go back and fix that while you are improving new things. Like someone renovating a property, you have to love it for the process or you will go crazy. I have heard about people getting divorced over the pressure of a home renovation. I believe it–it isn’t for everyone and when the daily grind of it all isn’t enjoyable (dressage or renovations) the prospect of the finished product is simply not enough to carry you through the very difficult journey. I have nothing against someone who moves into a finished farm, but I would like to believe that there is a special place for people patient and detail-oriented enough to renovate/build their own facility.

Show me a person who took the care to choose where each pasture would be located, what kind of footing their horses would work on and where the tack room would be located and I will know that person has the horsemanship, patience and long-term desire that will serve them well in the saddle. Cheers to everyone committed enough to be renovating a dressage horse or a barn–here is to getting through today, tomorrow and EVERY day for the REST OF YOUR LIFE! If that prospect excites you, I know you will go far and hope you send pictures. All of the crazy people have to stick together 😉







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