I can remember the VERY first time I got on a horse. I was probably 3 1/2 (I can remember all the way back to my second birthday, crazy, right?). It was at my aunt’s, and I was riding Felisco, a speckly gray mare that was the daughter (I think) to my Grandpa’s stallion, Supercat. (I don’t know if that’s how it’s spelled, but it’s how it sounds…) Anyways. I was terrified. My dad was leading me around and all I can remember is this BIG lurching movement that was her walk. I clung to the saddle for dear life, and although it was so very scary, I didn’t want to get down. I didn’t know it then, but I was bit my a metaphorical horse bug.
Fast forward about 8 years. I met some rough and tumbly country girls who loved horses, and from then on it’s been downhill. First there was dreaming about having a horse and practicing “cantering” while running anywhere, holding out imaginary reins of course. Then there was riding stubborn ponies because hey, it’s better than pretend… ponies are awful creatures who kick and bite and take off and lay down and roll over and do anything they can to get you to leave them alone. Then it was my first horse show and hanging on for dear life because my pony decided the arena was a racetrack…. but getting third place out of three isn’t bad, right? After that it was years of 4-H. I never had my own horse, but I always would barter with people to ride and show their horses. Helping with barn chores. Cleaning 15 stalls 3 times a week as a twelve year old, just so I could ride… and not giving up until boys became more important.
Life, for me, will always feel a little empty without a horse. I didn’t have a horse for the first few years we were married, and something was always missing. It was a horse. It’s not like I was unhappy or unfulfilled, but it felt like part of me was missing. The part that is so deeply connected with these giant, accident prone, sometimes sassy beasts. Just talking about Pride, the mare I have been riding since BEFORE I met Matt, makes me well up with tears. That girl represents a huge heart change in my life. She was there going through it with me, and has experienced me before, during and after. She carried me around while I carried around Hazel. She knew my voice after years of not seeing me. She is sweet and gentle and will teach my girls SO many lessons about respect and unconditional love. I know that because it’s what she’s taught me.
People always ask me why I have horses, and why don’t I just sell them when times get tight and they say things like “that’s just throwing your money away.”, but we don’t see it that way. I know with every breath that I take that part of my life’s purpose is to care for horses, and hopefully down the road, use these magnificent creatures who have the ability to read emotions without having to say a word to them, to help heal children who won’t speak of the things that they have gone through, or just to quietly stand while someone burrows their head in their neck and let’s go of the worlds problems. I know there is a reason for this deep, unconditional love of these creatures, and that the reason is more than for my own enjoyment. Sure, I get to ride and love them for myself, but I just can’t wait until it’s so much more than that.
There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.
– Winston Churchill –