(this post was inspired by a dear cyber-friend who noticed my fixation on wandering ponies. )
I wonder if you would’ve understood my magnificent obsession, my love affair with the horse? For you they were survival. For me they were high fantasy.
I always wanted a pony. As a girl, I passed through the ritualistic time of early teenage years wanting, craving, BEGGING for a pony.
Just a small one? I pleaded.
Not even a small one.
We could use the old barn…
Nope, that’s for storing dead cars and wood (okay I added the “dead” part) and besides, we don’t have a pasture.
Ah, I said, knowing I’d thought everything out in meticulous detail, we can make one in the back yard…
Back yard floods every spring, Tudes. We’re not getting a pony.
You heard your father, she answered from the other room.
Drat. Foiled again.
My teenage obsession grew into a love affair with all things horses. I lived, breathed and planned for these wonderful creatures to be part of my life someday. I begged for lessons and got a few. Not many, just enough to satisfy the craving, not enough to fall in love with any particular horse. Then the day came when one decided to take me for a ride, literally. There was no stopping the beast that simply wanted to head home; to warm oats, its companions and greener pastures.
I was shaken, not harmed, and learned a valuable lesson that day. Such beauty came with a price tag; one I wasn’t willing to pay. So I gave up my obsession and settled into to adulthood loving horses from afar.
Flash forward a few years and enter my world as parent of a pre-teen girl. Yup, you guessed it. The obsession it turned out was hereditary.
What do you want for your birthday this year, Sarah? She was turning 9. I should’ve guessed.
A wandering pony (okay, I added the “wandering” part).
Okay, riding lessons?
There was no mistaking the hopeful tone in that little voice.
And so we did and well, one thing led to another and soon we owned that magnificent, ornery, beautiful, cranky mare called Sadie. My mistake letting her fall in love with her lesson pony.
Flash forward a few years again.
Sarah still rides Sadie. She’s loyal to that moody mare when all I want to do is… well, let’s say sell her because that’s much kinder. It beats the heck out of me how that horse will let a three-year-old ride, smooth as silk and kick her heals up at Sarah.
And how shall I describe her?
Sadie’s a love. She’s a devil. When Sarah decided our pure-blood American Quarter horse should have a show name, I suggested “Sadie Sweet and Sour.”
And me? Now that I own one of these creatures, has my magnificent obsession come back?
Do I ride?
Nope. Ain’t nothing on God’s green earth gonna get me on the back of that beast. I’ve watched Sarah manage every buck, spook and quiver. I’ve watched her sail with unnatural grace over Sadie’s head and pop up unharmed when I would’ve broken every bone in my body, even the ones in my nose. I’ve listened to stories about how that horse took her for a little “ride” in the pastures only stopping at the last-minute and on her agenda, not Sarah’s.
Brat horse. Goober. Dufus. She comes to all those names.
So, you might ask, why do we keep her?
Sigh. She is kinda pretty, with that velvet copper-color coat, those long black leggings and plump rump. She can be sweet when she wickers at my approach. She does SO love to be groomed, pampered and petted. I’ve no skill in the saddle, but apparently I am a horse whisperer.
I discovered that when you pet a horse’s ears, it puts them to sleep.