Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Horse Memories

Years ago when I was a youngster I had a fascination with horses. I read books about horses, I talked about horses, I daydreamed and dreamt about horses. Like my grand daughter Madison says "I NEED a horse. Grandma you understand that a need is different from a want? " I understand that line of thinking "I needed one too." My only opportunity to ride was at a neighbors two miles away, Joe had a bunch of horses, and his children didn't like to ride. In the summer I would hop on my bike and pedal over to his farm and ride in his pasture. He had several horses that were gentle enough for a thirteen year old to ride, Joe would call one in from the pasture and taught me how to put on a bridle. Off I would go, bareback, that's how I learned to ride, feeling every muscle on the horse move beneath you. There is an art to riding bareback, you learn to use your legs to stay on the horse, there is a no other feeling that compares to riding a horse at a full gallop bareback with the wind in your face and the landscape flying by. Years later I had to re learn how to ride with a saddle, I never did like riding with a saddle as much as I did bareback.

My parents finally decided that I could buy a horse of my own. They had grown up with work horses, any horses that didn't work were called "hay burners." Dad and I went to the sale barn, I wandered up and down all the stalls, I visited all the horses tied up and spoke to some of the owners. I finally spotted the horse I needed, an older mare, I had no idea what kind of horse she was, she was brown and not too tall with kind gentle brown eyes. She nickered softly when I approached her. She nuzzled me when I stroked her head. She was just perfect. I showed her to my Dad..and declared that she was the horse I had dreamt about. The one that would take me on many adventures but always get me back home safely. I was convinced this horse would be my best friend.

We sat in the bleachers, the horses were brought in one by one. The Auctioneer would sing the praises of each animal. My Dad was interested in a horse that was good with kids. I was interested in the horse I made a connection with. My Dad bid on a very tall Appaloosa Mare that was about four years old and good with kids. He bought her..I was excited..but sad that my dream horse would be left behind.

I do not even remember what her name was, she was not good with kids and she hated me. She was a biter, and would bite me every chance she got. While I was riding her she would try and reach around to bite my foot. She would try and buck me off..she was a pain in the neck horse. When I brought her a bucket of grain she would either bite my shoulder or my boob..yes she was a boob biting old nag. I was black and blue all summer from her bites. By the end of the summer I was back riding at Joes, appreciating a horse that didn't bite. The boob biting old nag of an Appaloosa was sold..and I didn't even say goodbye to her. I continued to ride at Joes every chance I got.

Joe still has horses, he is now in his eighties. He rode in a wagon train on a trip throughout Minnesota one summer. The kindness he showed to me as a teenager I have never forgotten..we shared a love of horses. Since his children didn't share his interests he shared with me. I still ask him "How many horses do you have Joe?" He never quotes a figure, cause his lovely wife thinks he only has a few. Sometimes I drive out to his north pasture and watch the horses, and remember sunny summer days feeling free as a bird flying along on one of his horses:)

12 comments:

  1. Flying free as a bird on a horse - wonderful!

    I too have suffered at the teeth of biters! No fun at all.

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  2. Ah, brought back some memories for me. My best friend and I used to go riding at one of the local stables. All went along smoothly until one day when someone talked her into riding bareback. Can't remember who that was:) But anyhow the horse decided to get too close to a tree and just scraped her right off like some pesky bug. Laughed sooooo hard, after making sure she was alright of course. Thanks for making me remember those fun times, Connie.

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  3. I loved reading this! I felt like I was back reading one of my favorite horsey books and the tail of the little girl and her first horse. This is great writing!
    I learned to ride sans saddle mostly due to my parents not being able to justify not only boarding our horse but buying a saddle to go along with her. She was the best horse to ride bareback, especially in winter. Kept me warm!
    Thanks for sharing this!

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  4. I loved to ride horses too. My dad sold my favorite horse, after it acted up on a hunting trip.

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  5. I needed a horse when I was a girl. I got one and rode her a handful of times. One day she reared up and nearly threw me off. I never got on a horse again. Sad, huh?

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  6. I had an Appy mare too while growing up, and she could be pretty cantankerous also! Now I'm married to a wonderful man with 3 horses, and a special paint horse I've bonded with (although not rode yet). They are wonderful creatures! :)

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  7. What a heart-warming story of your and Joe's love for horses. I enjoyed this post very much.

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  8. Are all little girls horse mad? I know that I was.

    But we lived in the suburbs, so it was to no avail. Might have been a good thing.

    I have been bucked off, stepped on, bitten, knocked off, and horses have had heart attacks, broken legs, deep scratches, and viruses around me. Some of us no mater how horse mad, should just not be around them.

    Jen.

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  9. I learned to ride bareback too...and still prefer it! We made our kids learn that way too.
    I "needed" one too...after much wrangling (Mom is allergic) yes was their answer. I had to work and save til I had enough to buy one, farrier work and boarding for a year! I did it though at 12 yrs old! Kept him until I was 16 and boys and driving was more important....

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  10. This brought back memories I was 13 too. We lived with a stables next to us. How many time did I go and pet through the fence I can't remember. As a small girl I begged for one, my dad said when you are 15 well that never happened.Got one after I had my son was born
    ,we worked at a stables I was in heaven and all of 19. One day I went to work and my then husband sold my pregnant mare,I was heart broken and I never was told why.
    My love for horses has never died but it has been stifled for years.
    Thanks so much for the story.

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  11. Nice post. Good story. I also need horses, as do a couple of my daughters. Their smell is as good for my soul as lilies and lilacs.

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Thanks for stopping by! I appreciate your comments! If you have a question I will try to answer it here. Connie