Right after I graduated highschool in 2004, I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted to do. Because I was hesitant, my mother had the great idea of deporting me off to Limerick, Ireland to work at the barn where I discovered my horse, Cash. I love everything about Ireland, the luscious green scenery, the ancient lands, historic castles and the distinct smell. Perfect! While all of my friends are heading off to college and flocking from the bubble of Wexford, PA, I will bring Cash back to Ireland. I wanted to have him with me during the endeavor I was taking and I was convinced by my mother that I would be training horses and fox hunting while meeting people and going out around Europe. My intentions were to try and persuade my parental units that it would be a better idea if I could fly Cash back to Ireland with me. It would have been the perfect opportunity to train and show him in Europe. Were my parents really going to believe the bullish I would throw at them to make that happen? Doubtful. Obviously that didn’t fly – but one can only dream that this possibility is in my future.
I kind of had a bad feeling about this alternative solution to college, but I was willing to bite the bullet and go check out this unfamiliar world of ours.
* Before I continue I just want to say I blame this whole hysterical tragedy on my mother, Car who I love for it because it’s one of the best memories I will EVER have!
My mother ships me off exactly on my birthday, September 11, 2004 – awesome I am flying to Ireland, solo, on 9-11, to go work at a barn. Not exactly what I had in mind after graduating highschool but whatever, it was a start in life. I arrive in Limerick only to picked up by the lady whom I bought my horse from 2-years prior. We arrive back to familiar grounds, an old stoned barn with green pastures where cattle roamed. The main quarters were right next to the barn, large cottage looking kind of house (rather Braveheart-ish if you will). Then and there I was put right to work! My first task at hand was night check; picking the horses stall, feeding, water, hay…the typical horse routine. Okay I can deal with this.
Wake up call 6 a.m. – this is illegal for me to get up that early, truly NOT a morning person. Muck the stalls, feed, water, hay, turn out the cattle?. I never thought I would be in Ireland herding cattle. That was a wild experience. After those tasks were completed, I had a schedule in which all of the horses needed excercise on a daily basis.
Meanwhile, back in Jacqui land, I have no legit cell-phone, I haven’t had a meal since I have been there, the shower is outside and there is absolutely no hot water. How did I turn into a peasant over night? Days go by, same routine, no sign of civilization. Thankfully, I had a young cat from Belgium and a girl from Sweden working with me and staying on this plantation. The Belgium and myself got a long and he became my homeboy, he gave me hope to survive. As for the Sweed, she was just a little brat – we even threw brushes at each other’s heads in the tack room one day because she was pissed I could ride better than her. hehe.
I was living in a dungeon, frozen foods and meat from a bag, no television, NO CELLY and no car to even find out if there is still life out there. What the hell did Car get me into? Two weeks later we all packed up the trailer and headed to a horse show for the weekend. I have to say it was a pretty sick experience to be horse showing in Ireland, but their horse-showing is so much different from what I am use to in America. I was ever-so-nicely provided with a cot that I had to set up in the horse trailer, where the horses were standing – while being shipped. Oh that’s real clean – but atleast I finally found decent food at the horse show, chicken patties, fine I will take it!
I shortly found out that I would be taking showers in the public women’s bathroom inside the facility. It’s not like it mattered anyway because I was basically sleeping next to horse shit. Don’t even think I didn’t collect call my mom and dad from a pay phone every single day and talk for at least an hour, crying. I cried myself to sleep! It was awful. At that point, my eyebrows needed waxed so bad I practically had a uni-brow, and my nails were also looking extremely haggard I didn’t even feel female anymore. One night after I was taking a public shower, I saw a younger woman putting on lipstick in the bathroom. She had on stilettos, nails were freshly painted, her Louis Vuitton was tucked right underneath her arm and she was struttin’!
I took one look at her and burst into tears as I proceed to tell her, “I used to be you, now look at me.” Thankfully, she convinced me to go back to America and get it together. I shouldn’t be sleeping on cots in horse trailers, eating meat from weird bags and growing unnecessary uni-brows. So, I flew home two days later and never felt so good to be home.
I did end up loosing about 15 lbs and happen to come back awesomely skinny…I don’t know what happened? Not so fun when I was there, but I have to look back and laugh now and deem it a unregrettable experience!
I realize now, that my Mom was so concerned that I would feel so left behind when all my friends were going off to college that she tried to create this positive experience for me. We both learned that going to Ireland to buy a horse is vastly different than sending that same person to go and work at a horse farm. Funny though, right?!?