August 20, 2009

The Real Beginning

All girls dream of ponies.  For at least a brief time in their lives.  Some girls never stop dreaming.

That's me.

When I was growing up, every Christmas morning I would lie still in my bed, eyes scrunched tight shut, holding my breath, firmly believing that if I was just still enough & wished hard enough, the sheer power of my longing would make a horse wearing a big red bow appear in my window when I looked out.

Alas, it appears I was unable to keep my eyes closed long enough, for the horse never apppeared.

As a result, I begged & borrowed rides where I could.  My mother did half-lease me a pony when I was 7 (that's Sassy below, circa mid-80's, half Welsh Mountain Pony & what you see is the grand total sum of tack that we had) & she bought me riding lessons from age 8-15.  After that, I cleaned stalls, exercised what I could, schooled a backyard prospect or two.


And every day I dreamed of when I would be able to write my OWN horse's name on a bucket of brushes.

There were many gentle teachers & loving hearts along the way.

There was the headstrong paint dressage gelding who ran away with me & knocked me out but taught me triumph when I could finally control him.

There was the quiet chestnut who gave my my first real canter & jumped a faithful straight line while my arms were outstretched & eyes closed.

There was the leggy thoroughbred who won me my first blue ribbon, when I was in college riding hunter equitation.

The black quarter horse who met my truck at the gate every day & despite his age & (unbeknownst to me then) intestinal cancer, always made me smile with his joie de vivre & finely tuned cues.

But none of them were mine & each I had to give up as owners changed their minds & life moved inexorably on.  There were years when I couldn't even touch a horse; then I would pull my truck into random horse barn parking lots & sit there absorbing that special barn atmosphere with tears in my eyes because I missed it so much.

I was 26 years old & I finally couldn't take it anymore; that horse-shaped hole in my heart had sat empty for too long. I didn't have any money -- I worked (and still do) as a state biologist & rented a house in a "transitional neighbourhood."  But dammit, sometimes, it's just TIME.  I wasn't going to get any younger, no CHANCE of getting richer, & I wasn't going to miss out on it any more.


  1. I look forward to reading your blog, I love the accounts of your adventures together on ES and Solo is one photogenic boy. :)

    Your back story sounds a lot like mine, and I have to say that longing growing up really makes it that much sweeter when you realize that you own a horse (or they own you, haha). I still get such a sense of awe when I see Lily galloping in the pasture and realize she's mine.

  2. Thanks! And you are totally right, nothing makes you truly appreciate the gift of a horse's friendship like NOT having it for so long. Give Lily a kiss for me! And I'm glad you posted, I've lost the link to your blog, now I can repost it, woohoo!

  3. Sounds like three of us had very similar childhoods!
    I started asking for a pony when I was three, but was only allowed to go on a yearly trail-ride until I was nine, when I (finally) was allowed to take riding lessons.
    In the sixth grade, I started working at the stable taking care of the school horses, turning out, watering, etc., in order to earn extra rides and eventually pay for my lessons.
    When I got Mac, it was a dream come true. :-) And, yes, all of that wishing and longing made me appreciate him so much more.
    OK, now that I have learned to appreciate things, can I please be rich?

  4. HAHAH -- Frizzle, I sure wish it worked that way!!!