Girls and Their Horses
There is a lot to be said about girls and horses, primarily, 99.999469% of little girls love and want one at some point in early childhood. I was a lucky little girl in that I got to grow up surrounded by the mythical creatures. In fact, my mother was riding a horse when she was 9 months pregnant with me, so though I had been riding horses since I was in the womb, it wasn’t until first grade that I got my very own. He was just a baby, with a pot-belly and a wounded knee. We found common ground in our brokenness. His legal name was Saratoga, which I hated, I mean, what kind of boy horse could have ‘Sara’ in his name and still be cool? So since he was a blue roan, I called him, Blue. (Not my most creative moment.) Blue came from a sale in South Dakota at the bargain price of $200. Apparently that was cheap considering his father was renowned stud horse, Hayden Wayno. I didn’t care about any of that, though. I was just a happy little squirt with a horse. I was so excited that I took him to first grade ‘show and tell’ with me. This is something that would only happen in rural Montana…
I became obsessed with my horse. He was an escape for me–a safe someone to talk to and I was sure that he could understand me. He had a big head, and my siblings made fun of my “donkey.” I was also made fun of at that age, for my awkwardness.
Once he was broke to ride, I rarely did anything but. I would pretend that John Wayne was my uncle and he needed help rounding up cows or hunting or trying to catch an outlaw. Sometimes I would pretend that I was a young, orphaned Indian girl and I had to survive alone in the world, with only my trusty pony. I could do anything on Blue.
As we both got older, I trained him to run barrels and do other rodeo events. He was powerful and a little crazy which sometimes scared me, but I was always proud to be atop him (especially after he grew into his head.)
Blue (now white) is still alive and well, and I still technically own him, although he lives about 4 hours away from me. Since I could not afford to keep and feed him in college, I sort of donated him to an elderly couple that had always wanted a horse. I knew that he would be fed and generally spoiled in his aging years. I miss him all the time and fantasize about the days I would swing my leg over his back and take off, running wild, with the wind in my face, and his mane in my hands.
These days, I get to live vicariously through my nieces. They are lucky enough to have a horse to share. During good weather days, it’s rare to see them off of their horse. They are usually riding double, oldest sister on front, of course. Whenever I see them, I’m taken back…Riding through creeks and pretending that they are rushing rivers…Galloping up a hill as if escaping from a band of outlaws…Trotting over a big log and pretending to be a fancy equestrian jumper.
I hope my precious nieces know how blessed they are…I know I didn’t appreciate any of it at their age. I didn’t see what a gift having my own horse was. I didn’t realize then that it was a Godsend, especially considering the abuse I went through as a youngster and the loneliness that I felt growing up. I think that having Blue (and other horses) in my life helped develop my self-confidence as well as my compassion.
I always tell my husband that I want my kids to have the horse experience as I did, even though we live in town and in a different day and age. I also tell him that this is not negotiable…I hope and pray that my Blue is still around when that day comes.
Did you want your very own horse when you were little?