Posted by: tranalist | February 15, 2007

Some of My Favorite Faces #3

This post is dedicated to all the horses I’ve ridden in my life (hey, I never said my favorite faces had to be human!).

Most, if not all girls, go through a period in their lives where they’re in love with horses and want a pony for a Christmas present. I was no different, except that my fantasy actually became a reality when I started riding at age 10.

Somehow, I had the lucky fortune of having a mother with friends that owned a few horses, and when they invited us down for a ride and I stepped out of our old blue minivan onto the dirt of the rundown stables and breathed my first breath of horses, leather, manure, and shavings, it was all over for me. I was hooked.

Horses became my life. I had horse calendars on my walls. My room was covered with ribbons and trophies I had won at shows. I dreamt about them at night. I had horse novels in my bookcase, and read Practical Horseman till I had memorized every word of the magazine.

Now, 13 years later, I still ride and enjoy horses as much as I ever did.

I find myself very thankful for having horses throughout my adolescence. Riding and competing taught me valuable lessons, they taught me determination, courage, how to overcome fear, the joy of success in hard work paying off, and how to approach losing with a good attitude. Horses gave me confidence, and they provided a healthy distraction when other girls around me were getting into trouble.

I could always count on horses.

When people would disappoint me with their hypocrisy, their failings, their treatment of others, horse were there—the one constant in my life when I needed it most.

They were my escape, my few moments to forget about the trials of life, and be free as every beat of their hooves carried me further and further away from my reality.

It was just me and the horse, working as one—me listening to him, him listening to me—us responding to each other, sensing every motion. I don’t think anyone has known me as well as the horse. We can communicate without words; he knows what I want by the slightest motion of my body. He can sense when I’m nervous, excited, frustrated, or relaxed.

Yes, horses were definitely my saving grace during my childhood.

There have been many throughout these past 13 years—Howdie, Love, Nito, Hero, Ruby, and Brave, just to name a few. All have taught me more about myself, all have had an impact on me, much like a human being would. There’s a lot to learn from a horse, from most anyone for that matter, if we just take the time to watch and listen. That’s another important lesson I’ve learned. Sometimes, when words don’t cut it, we have to be able to look deeper, sense things, and know what’s being communicated through one’s behaviors, sounds, and most importantly, through one’s eyes.

My love for horses runs deep. The other day I watched “Flicka,” based on the book “My Friend Flicka” (a book I loved as a child), and I was amazed at how this silly PG film stirred my soul. The untamed beauty of the Wyoming hills, the wild horses running free, the girl on her horse galloping along with no fence, street, house, or city in sight.

My soul breathed a deep sigh.

I don’t think I was supposed to be raised a city girl. I have never really fit in here. I prefer to be dirty, sweaty, riding, saying “Howdy” to folks (and being able to call people folks!). This longing to be surrounded by nature, to be without fences confining me, is a desire so strong within me, that I cried at these scenes in the movie. But, I’m not embarrassed, just looking forward to the day when I get to be the girl on the horse roaming freely over the hills.


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