What a glorious morning! Once upon a time I was a horseback rider. Once upon a time, a long time ago. Now after 30 years I have begun dreaming like a little girl again. Horses, horses, horses. Sigh. Never mind that I am out of practice, I CAN DO IT. So today I got up and put on my jeans and boots and headed to a local stable. There is a little lady there (or old lady if you prefer since she is over 30 - like me, lol) who is willing to put up with me. Her name is very apropo. It is Charmer. And she is, even at her age.
Once upon a time she was a little chestnut colored filly with a white blaze and white star and stripe on her nose. But now she is a little grayer (aren't we all?) and her face is a little less full but she is beautiful. She doesn't belong to me. In fact she doesn't belong to the friend who introduced me to her, but when I am seated on her back I feel like she is. I wish she was. Her owner doesn't ride her anymore so the rest of us are privileged enough to enjoy her charms.
Did I tell you she still jumps? She does. I don't jump her. I barely canter since my legs aren't what they once were and posting is tiring. Riding English is harder than Western. Since I've done both I know what I am supposed to do but it isn't that easy. Oh to have the back and leg muscles I once had! Anyway, my girlfriend coached me and guided me and put up with me and so did Charmer.
When I was a little girl about five years old my uncle had a horse. Poor thing was really an old nag. He called her "Patsy". She was also a little chestnut horse like Charmer. I loved her as if she were mine even though I barely ever saw her since she lived on a farm in another county. Then when I was ten my parents paid for English lessons at a local stable. I rode a beautiful black Morgan horse named "Carbon Copy". What an absolutely nasty horse! He always tried to knock me off. But I suppose he realized I was clueless and vulnerable. After that I rode whenever I had a friend who was willing to share her horse.
My senior year of high school one of my best friends had a pony (for me to ride) and a handsome young quarterhorse. He was her pride and joy. Though poor, her father had made sacrifices and not only bought the horse for her but found a little horse trailer. She rode that horse every day. He was her best friend. She competed in barrel races and other contests and made the rounds of all the horse shows in West Alabama. I went with her and mucked out the trailer and stalls, fed that horse, curried him, watered him and anything else that was needed. Then one day she came home from school to find that fine horse with a broken leg.
Her father shot him.
After that I never rode again. It broke my heart, for her, for that fine horse, and for all the other horses out there in bad pastures next to shacks where there was no shelter and there were holes in the ground.
But here I am, almost 40 years later, riding again. The aches and pains are worth it, just to smell a horse that close once more.
And to feed her cookies. Did you know they make them for horses too? Just like dogs.