Monday, March 11, 2013

Back in the Saddle Again?!!

by Kate Collins

Horses have been my secret passion since my mother read BLACK BEAUTY to me as a six-year-old child. I was so in love with those big graceful animals that I used to beg my parents to let me keep one in the back yard. (We had a garage, we had grass, what was the problem?)

That hope destroyed, I  devoured every book about horses on the library shelves. I also had quite a collection of glass horses. And my old bike wasn't a bike at all. It was a horse. My best friend and I would ride our "horses" all around the  neighborhood solving crimes a la Trixie Belden and her friend Honey. (I was Trixie. There was never any argument about that.)

When I was seventeen, my best friend found a riding stable one town over, and we rented horses there twice. It wasn't a big deal. We were led along a trail by an experienced rider, but I was in the saddle! And then on our third trip, disaster struck. I was given a new horse who'd never been a part of a group. That horse, I soon found out, didn't want to follow single file through the woods. He wanted to be first in line and he wanted to run at a full out gallop. And then he decided he wanted to run at a full out gallop alone. Meaning minus his rider. Meaning me. So he started bucking to get me off.

At that point, I decided to make my exit, so I threw one leg over the horse's back to dismount just as he bucked again. I landed against a wire fence on my neck. Luckily, nothing broke but my spirit.

Where was the guide during all this trauma? Not helping me, that was for sure. Needless to say, I never went back. I was too afraid. But my love of horses never diminished. It just got buried.

And now I've discovered that a woman in my new neighborhood (if you've been following my blog, you may remember I recently moved) owns a horse. When I first heard the news, I was at a meeting with other homeowners and was listening to about five conversations going on around me at once. (This is a gift most writers have). And then out of all those voices, one sentence floated into the air above me and wrapped around the part of my brain that is still a six-year-old child: "I own a horse."

Practically elbowing people aside, I made my way to her and said, "You really have a horse? Can I see her?"

So tomorrow I get to visit a horse named Magic, who, I was told, loves people and loves treats and really loves people who give her treats. Who knows? Maybe I'll even be brave enough to sit in the saddle.

Is this love of horses a female thing?


Linda Mc said...

I hope you have a wonderful time at your visit with Magic. I don't get a chance to see horses very often, but when I do, I love it. Such beautiful animals.

Katreader said...

I too love horses. As a child I dreamed of owning one. I went to a horse camp once(it was a bust-it was 15 minutes of horse riding and all holy rollers-which my parents didn't realize and were furious when they found out)and my dad would take me out to a stable for trail rides at the time. I also periodically went to the track (I was in love with Stevie Cauthen, of course). When I was 33 I started taking riding lessons-hunter/jumper. A few years later I had what I called a pre-midlife crisis. I bought a horse with another woman. While I couldn't afford him on my own, I could pay half of everything with out a problem-plus my car was paid off and I just got a promotion. A year and a half later she backed out and now I own Harley all on my own. He's an off track thoroughbred and a great guy. Sadly, I don't spend near enough time with him...and now I have a car payment. Sometimes horses are better as dreams. Sigh

ponyswimgal said...

Oh, yes! I, too, hope you have a wonderful time with your visit to Magic. (What a super name for a horse!) I can't believe how close our lives paralleled -- BLACK BEAUTY was my love as a child, when my parents asked if I wanted a baby brother or sister I said "A pony!" (none of the three ever materialized), and I went riding at "riding stables" in my area but I never was dismounted against my will. Life intervened and horses faded into the distant past. But ... every once in a while I actually dream of standing close to one of those magnificent steeds, so close I can inhale its smell, feel a whiskery nose snuffling at my hand, and see the swirls on hair on its withers. Please let us know how your meeting with Magic goes.

Whalehugger said...

I think it is a girl thing, though I don't know why. I had a sorrel quarter horse gelding when I was a girl and it broke my heart to lose him to old age. We've got a barn nearby with horses (and nice looking horses to boot) and I've been thinking about volunteering to go there and just do grooming work. I don't need to ride anymore, but there's nothing to soothe the soul as currying a horse and just being close to them.

Sue said...

I hope you have a great time and Magic truly is just that for you. I to am a major horse lover. When I was a child my mom was pregnent. People would ask me if I wanted a brother or sister. I would tell them in no uncertain terms I wanted a PONY!!! Well, time came and my mom left and came back with of all things A BABY!!!! A crying smelly baby who got all the attention. So like any good child told to pick things up and put them away, I took my little sister (she was 3 months old by then) and put her in the attic where everyone puts the things no one wants. Needless to say when mama and granny found her, I was in trouble big time. After the lecture and paddling from mama, Granny took me in the kitchen, gave me a glass of milk and homemade cookies and asked "why". I told her I didn't want a sister, I wanted a pony. When my faf (grandfather) came home, Granny told him what had happened....I got my first pony that weekend. Until I moved to the Des Moines area I have had horses, but no more.

Aurian said...

I think most young girls who like to read, grow up with Black Beauty or other horse books. I know I have. I still own those, and after a 20 year break, the author continued writing them, selfpublished. And I buy them each year, even though they are full of mistakes (yes, she has been to America before!), no, that horse was named X!), like she forgot what she wrote before, and very expensive. I split the cost with my two sisters, who also want to read them.
And the original series still gets reread from time to time.

Jeannie D. said...

I grew up reading Marguerite Henry, and had horse art on my wall. I was raised in Kentucky and became a racehorse groom for almost 15 years at Churchill Downs home of the Kentucky Derby, and a few Northern Kentucky tracks as well. I Retired from that and went on to do many other things. I do not miss the hard work that goes with that job, but the best part was when you were grooming the horses after their workouts for the day. It was just you and the horse. I could talk to them about all my problems, they are really good listeners. I would even get a nuzzle of encouragement on occasion. They are wonderful, beautiful animals. Let us know about your visit with Magic.

Kate Collins said...

Katreader, what a great camp story! You made my Monday morning. I envy you having Harley, but I can understand your sadness. Sometimes the reality of a dream isn't so wonderful.

Ponyswimgal -- I wonder how many of us are out there with similar experiences.

Whalehugger, how lucky you were to have a horse. I can "hear" in your words that you really want to volunteer. I say Do It! Life is short.

Sue -- what a great story -- and you really did get your pony!

Jeannie, a groom at Churchill Downs? How cool!! You lived my dream. I always suspected that horses were good listeners.

I will definitely post on my Facebook page how my Magic meeting went. I'm so excited!

JJM said...

Definitely a girl thing. Usually strikes at about age nine or ten. I gather it's all about empowerment ... but that may just be Pop Psych 101-lite.

I hope you post back to the blog about meeting Magic. (^_^)

Mario R.

Jeanine said...

Yes, I think it's a girl thing. A woman once told me that horses come between toys and boys in a girl's life. I worked at a riding stable when I was 14, and my daughter worked for a polo farm when she was that age. Now she has a 4 yr. old daughter who wants to take riding lessons. One of my favorite memories is taking my daughter and son to a dude ranch in Colorado.

Anonymous said...

Growing up, I had 2 ponies while my mom had a horse. I love them. All five of my kids, boys and girls, love horses. I just wish I could afford them for my kids. Sigh.

Have a great time with Magic.


LD Masterson said...

For me it was The Black Stallion series. I've always wanted to learn how to ride (as opposed to sit on a horse and hang on). I fear it may never happen.

Kaye Killgore said...

It might be a "girl-thing", but some of us are hardwired to love horses. Author Jane Smiley has said the same thing, including the hope that parents have that boys, marriage and families will remove the horse love. I've always loved horses, I had a pony, a horse, and worked at the local racetrack (part of that time cleaning stalls). In addition I go to horse events, etc.

Have a great visit with Magic, give pets for me too.

Adrienne said...

I just loved your post, Katie! Thanks for sharing. I'm so glad you weren't seriously hurt when you fell off that horse as a child. Have a blast on your visit. No doubt that horse will become your newest best friend. Do let us know how the meeting goes! Adrienne in MN