A Young Widow and a Horse


After I bought Gigi I boarded her a local facility outside of town. I was there almost every single day. It was the highlight of my days and it just didn’t feel complete until I at least checked on her. I was so grateful, and still amazed, that I finally owned a horse again after so many years.

Spending time with Gigi was like a form of meditation. No words were spoke and we were always in the present moment. No matter how much was happening or how I was feeling before I got to the barn, it would all fall away when I got to her. Even if I was having a tough emotional day, it was quickly overcome by the peace and focus that Gigi’s presence brought.

Eventually I would nickname her Super Gigi, not just because of barrel racing with her but because of the incredible impact she had on my life. She now even has her very own hashtag, #SuperGigi.

A lot of time together was spent riding, but the time spent together during her massages and PEMF blanket treatments was also a wonderful time of bonding and healing.

While I was moving forward with my life, I was still healing after the loss of my husband, Tyler. More than anything Gigi brought my focus to the present. She drowned out the pain in the past and worry of the future. She helped bring my focus to the blessings in the moment.

After being around horses for a while the magic can wear off and complacency can take it’s place. Some people don’t stop to think that this 1,000+ lb animal has the power to easily hurt you and that it is a pretty amazing thing that they allow us to do so much with them.

So many people have benefitted from the power of the acceptance and love felt by a horses willingness to trust and follow them. It is a powerful experience especially to people that have never interacted with horses.

Beyond those magical experiences, the energy of a horse is healing in itself. Just to sit quietly in their presence can drown out the world and break through even the most calloused of hearts.

It has now been over 2 years since I found Gigi and she has been a beautiful blessing to me. She continues to help me grow, to conquer fears, to take my own unique path and remind me to never give up. Every day I walk out to the barn and her whinny I am so grateful.

Horses are truly heart healers and Super Gigi has helped heal mine.

Never Give Up,





Expanding on The Widow of ‘Downton Abbey’


I came across a great article on being a young widow today. (The Widow of Downton Abbey). I am also looking forward to seeing this episode of Downton Abbey so it caught my eye. The author points out some important issues that young widows commonly face today and I thought it was great to see someone writing about them.

“A widow is rarely allowed to be a lead character. More typically, she is a helpmate on the sidelines, an object of pity, a grateful recipient of the protagonist’s generosity or, worse, an object of scorn. She’s not considered major character material because she’s pegged as someone with no desires of her own, no future, no plans for change, and therefore no potential for a heroic journey. Why would anyone waste an episode on her story?”-Widow Of ‘Downton Abbey’ Article

I have learned to dismiss the stereotypes that still hold to widows in our culture the hard way, by actually experiencing it. I remember being so lost and not knowing what to do in the early days following Tyler’s passing. It was easier to conform at first since I didn’t know what I was supposed to do. I eventually realized that I wasn’t really living, just existing and just trying to do what others were comfortable with me doing. Not only did it feel wrong, I didn’t see a point in wasting my life like that.

And yes, some people really do have a problem with that.

I struggled with that for a long time, but eventually I became strong enough to stand on my own. Lord knows Tyler didn’t let anyone tell him what he should be doing! It helped to think of him when I was really having a hard time with the fact that not everyone from our life was going to be in the life I would have to build alone. I soon learned that life is a lot easier once you have the right people in it and those that don’t come with you into your new life make things really difficult because they aren’t supposed to be there. I learned that sometimes you just have to agree to disagree, let them head down their path and continue making your own trail. And most importantly, stop worrying about how others think you should be living your life! Have confidence in yourself and your decisions. Yes, you might make mistakes, but so does everyone else! You can’t let fear be your driving motivation or it will take you places that you don’t want to go. 

I was lucky to have found widow role models like Taryn Davis of the The American Widow Project to look to who didn’t just buck the stereotypes, but went on to thrive and enjoy life while making a huge impact helping other military widows do the same. When I saw that the light went off and I thought “YES!”. There was no more uncertainty or just knowing what I didn’t want. I gained confidence and started to go after what I wanted. I will always be grateful for that.

My experience of loss is a significant source of motivation for me today and I like to say I am living for two! And I know Tyler wouldn’t be satisfied with the ordinary. I aim to experience all I can, achieve all I can, and help others all I can. I don’t just want to exist, I want to LIVE as much as possible. 

“So here’s to Lady Mary taking up aviation, or wildlife photography, or a lover. Maybe she can demonstrate that a widow, facing an uncertain future and a need to remake herself, need not choose between the poles of lady and tramp. Neither maudlin nor wanton, but real, a widow can be a vigorous, noble and complex heroine in art and in life.”


I hope to demonstrate the same with my journey.

Never Give Up, Chelsey Stimson