It started in my head when I was quite young
. I still remember the dream that I had at five, even though I am now sixty three. A pony of my own in a pony sized barn. And I never was so happy than in that dream.
I begged my parents for a horse and he arrived when I was five. My mother, who knew nothing about horses found a stocky, older, pinto rental horse. He was perfect in all the ways that I had imagined and he taught me more than any of the 30 or more horses I have owned.
This horse was my best friend. And he was a seasoned rental horse from the park. Every person that ever wanted to be a cowboy, I’m sure, rode him. We rode bareback before I even knew how to ride and that is when he taught me about a balanced seat. With his bumpy trot and fast canter it was difficult to stay on, but over time we could zig and zag and ride like the wind with great ease.
Any chance he could get, the grass was always a sure thing as I would be thrown forward and pull with all my might to get his head back up from a lush green treat. I vividly remember having a face full of mane many times.
Being a seasoned rental horse, he knew when he saw a barn that it was time to head to it. Every barn we rode near, we had a barn-storming experience. It taught me to tuck my knees in and duck without asking for a faster trot while staying on his back the entire time.
Within a few months, I was getting used to all of his rental tricks and wisdom. And we became the best of friends. I didn’t know that we were anything other than that. So I taught him to stretch until he was almost on his toes. I also took some tree stumps and taught him to put his front feet on them like a circus horse. And then circle his back end around while his feet stayed on the stumps. Pretty good show for the kids in my neighborhood. I could swing up on his side onto his back and jump from behind onto his back…just like the movies.
The afternoons were the best, I would lay on his back while he ate hay and grain. There was something wonderful about the sound of him eating and the big blue sky with white clouds and the warm sun.
We rode through the woods and along many roads. There was not a place that I did not ride him. He was my best ‘show and tell’ project at school. My teacher let me ride him to our playground where we met my classmates at the back door of the school. All of my classmates saw the horse that I loved and I was honored to ‘show’ him that day.
My first horse taught me the relationship between a horse and rider. The first ride that still carries me today. The first love that has stayed with me through thick and thin. And the first of a lifestyle that will forever be in my blood.