I’ve been wanting to find a very quiet, sweet horse for years. No rodeos. No surprises. Road safe, trail safe. Small enough to a be a confidence builder for the grandkids when they are old enough to ride off a leadline. Large enough that the adults in the family can ride, too. We have one old geezer who at thirty-five is too old and arthritic to ride, and a twelve-year-old who is a tad too spunky to trust with just anyone on his back.
I’d sort of given up, after looking for so long….everything was too spunky. Not sound. Too erratic. Too expensive. Sold–just yesterday. “Gentle” but with a propensity for crowhopping into a lope. Nothing worked out. And this year, far more important things were going on as my mom grew more ill with each passing month, so I wasn’t even thinking about looking.
But then this past week, I came across Suzy by chance. Small, but not too small. Sweet. Quiet. Her owner and I went riding for an hour on the streets of a small town, with cars, trucks and school buses going by, dogs barking, flags flapping, people coming up to “pet the horsies.” She was as solid and steady as could be, and fifteen minutes into the ride I was sold….and an hour later, her former owner trailered her to our house. Better yet, when our vet came the next day, he pronounced her sound. Now I look forward to Thanksgiving and the arrival of our two young grandkids…and will be hoping for nice weather so they can enjoy her. Suzy will be a small day brightener for us all, given that this will be our first Thanksgiving without my mom.
Suzy reminds me of the horses I had when I was a child. Those horses–probably due in part to me riding daily for hours upon hours, were bombproof. My friends and I rode everywhere–trails, busy roads, down to “The Corner” near our house where there was a collection of shops, including a bakery, where we would tie our horses outside and go in for M&M cookies, or we’d stop at the Dairy Queen, or the drug store, which had a soda fountain and the best ice cream in the world. One of my horses, Rebel, had a particular fondness for maple nut ice cream, so I always bought him a cone, too. We rode to the local horse shows back then as well, and even to the county fair, because none of us had trailers yet.
What a childhood that was, being so independent from the age of six, on the back of a gentle old mare! The adventures were endless, the memories are so rich. These days, the thought of turning children loose like that, unsupervised, is frightening, but it was a different world then…at least, as far as we knew.
What are some of your happiest memories from childhood?