Saturday, April 9, 2011

April Blogging Challenge: H is for Horses

I can't pinpoint the moment that I became obsessed fell in love with horses. It might have been when someone pointed to a picture of a horse when I was a toddler. I'm not sure my parents could even tell you. But I was one of those madly in love with horses kind of kid. And I couldn't have one for the longest time. For some reason, the city frowns on you keeping one in your backyard. Not sure why . . .

I used to ask Santa every year for a horse and each year I was denied. I usually got everything else I asked for, but thankfully for my parents, Santa realized that horses cost a lot of money and when I was little, we didn't have that kind of money. Or space.

I was the girl who always had a horse book in my hands. I read the Black Stallion books by Walter Farley dozens of times. If it wasn't about horses, I didn't read it. At least, not until I was about 12. I was a sponge when it came to learning about them.

When I was 13, my parents decided to move out of Redding and find a place that had a few acres for some elbow room. The house they chose has a corral with a two stall barn and attached tack/hay room. From the minute we drove in I knew it was home and that somehow I'd finally get that horse I'd always wanted.

My grandparents had gifted me riding lessons when I was about 10 or 11. I don't think you could have found a happier kid at the time. I was on cloud 9. Eventually it got too expensive and I had to stop going. After we moved to the three acres, my parents found another gal that taught horseback riding. When it, too, became expensive, my parents asked if I could work for my lessons by cleaning stalls and whatnot. Their idea was to work my ass off and make me realize I didn't want to deal with the mess and work that comes with horse. Boy did I prove them wrong. Whatever that woman threw at me, I did it. I mucked stalls - nasty stalls, with the smell of ammonia burning my nostrils. And still I wanted to ride and I wanted my own.

That instructor caught wind of a horse for sale, an Arabian mare named Kassie. She herself hated Arabs, instead preferring Morgans. However, this horse was her exception because she had helped the owner train it. I went for a test ride and fell in love. My parents bought her for me, and I owned her for 6 years. We even got a baby out of it, as we bred her a year later.

I eventually had to sell Kassie when I moved off for college. It broke my heart. The little one, O'My, was sent to live at Papa D's ranch. I get to see her now almost every morning. She's about 14 now. In fact, she just had a birthday yesterday.

Having my horses taught me hard work. Every weekend I was out cleaning the corral, creating a big manure pile in one corner. We'd give the pile away to friends who wanted fertilizer. My horses made some good shit. Rain or shine, I'd do my chores. I rode nearly every day in good weather. They were my responsibility. My parents pitched in only when needed, like when I was gone one summer for a school trip. I took a few falls, and got right back on, no matter how freaked out I was. My ego was always more bruised than my butt - which I always seemed to land on. Better than my head, I suppose.

My enthusiasm may have waned a little over the years, but I love horses just as much as I did as a kid. I just realize now that they cost a lot of money - to purchase, to feed, and buy supplies for. Hopefully when the weather gets better and the ground isn't so apt to break an ankle, I might get to ride one of Papa D's horses, Cloud. I know she hasn't been ridden in quite awhile, but she's in her late teens, and a good age for me to "get back in the saddle".

I love all animals, but there's just something about horses. I can't quite put my finger on it. They're beautiful, majestic, kind, and cuddly. I love their smell. I love the smell of a barn. I love the smell of a tack store. After the bites, the attempted kicks, the being stepped on, the falls, the attitudes - I still love them. There's not much that can top a horse hug. Or a horse kiss. Or a horse pillow.


  1. I love and respect them but not the way you do. I didn't grow up with horses, own a horse, or anything like that. I have been riding a few times and there are a couple farms very close to my house (right across the street and directly out back of the house I work at) so I get to see them everyday. They are absolutely beautiful. I love to watch the way they move.

  2. I always wanted my own horse. I love horses. I can look at them for hours, I love riding them, they are by far my favorite animal.

  3. This is a great story of your life with horses! I am glad you finally realized your dream and owned one. My niece, who lives in Vancouver, owns three horses. She is now looking for a ranch to buy. Her dream came true too!

  4. Nice post! I know a few other people who love horse kisses too. I've never been around horses much. I'm a cat person though.

  5. I have worked with horses somewhat and they are beautiful animals, though a little too big for my taste. They are really fun to watch, good story :)

  6. Jewels - Some people love them but just are never around them. I think part of my obsession was that I was hardly around them. LOL

    Karen - I haven't ridden in at least 10 years. I've missed it terribly, and I know my butt will be sore for days when I can start again! LOL

    Belle - I was so ecstatic when I got my horse. LOL Glad to hear your daughter's dream has come true, too!

    Sherri - Thanks for stopping by! I've had all kinds of pets growing up, and I love kisses from all of them. Too a point. LOL

    Alessandra - Yeah, their size can get daunting. I'm not used to the larger breeds, I get intimidated easier by them. Especially Thoroughbreds - they're so flighty and excitable!

  7. You sound like my daughter. We made her work for her first horse, too. Now she has more than I can keep track of, teaches therapeutic riding lessons and regular riding lessons, buys and sells them, etc, etc. Like your parents, we only help out in a pinch since we aren't horse people.

  8. Sharon - haha Us girls and our horses! When I was in Sacramento, I volunteered for a therapeutic riding program to get my horse fix. Us horse kids appreciate what non-horsey parents do for us! :o)


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