When I was a little girl, I was the only one in my family interested in horses. Interested is probably an understatement. I was CRAZY for horses for as long as I can remember. I don’t have any idea where in my young mind it came from. We always had a dog and a cat. I don’t think I ever saw a horse in the flesh until I was eight years old. Once I did I was relentless. I hounded my parents mercilessly.
One day I met a girl at school who had horses that lived right across the street from us. My new friend was my first teacher and we had a ball. We jumped on the horses bareback wearing only their halters. We would gallop through the pastures, getting clothes-lined on low hanging branches, get run through bramble, bucked off on the way back to the barn. We didn’t care! We were in horse heaven. I couldn’t get enough.
I found out another neighbor raised race horses and I begged and pleaded to clean their stalls, babysit their toddler, whatever it would take to be around THEM. They finally gave in and took me under their wing. They taught me how to muck, groom and feed. And eventually they let me ride! They taught me how to jump! Oh my did my world change! Little did I know that I was jumping barely broke racehorses that only knew one lead. It just didn’t matter. I was where I belonged.
Finally at the age of 10, my parents gave up the fight and bought me the most beautiful, the most spirited, the most unrideable buckskin gelding you’ve ever seen. Bucky, as the horse trader called him, came all the way from Texas. Yup, he was a barrel racer. Perfect first horse for a kid! LOL Bucky didn’t stay long. I cried a river of tears but to no avail. My parents didn’t know horses but they did know a 4-H leader who they asked to come and check Bucky out. She kindly told my folks they were darn lucky I hadn’t been killed and to march right back to that horse trader and demand a suitable horse for me.
Well, who would have thought that any good would come of giving up my beautiful Bucky?
Not I, but then I met Cherry. The most darling chestnut pony you have ever seen. Cherry was an angel in a horse suit. He loved me and I loved him. I walked to school, right by where my Cherry was boarded. I cleaned his stall and fed and loved on him before and after school everyday. I rode that pony down the street to my race horse friends barn a mile away by myself. I remember one time we went through a snow bank so deep we got stuck for a time. Cherry didn’t panic and neither did I. There was nothing we couldn’t do together. When I would come into the barn and find Cherry laying down for a nap, I would curl up against and take a nap too. That horse helped mold me. Cherry is a big part of who I am today. He taught me to trust, how to communicate clearly, to know what it means to love and be loved unconditionally.
As many of you know I founded a horse rescue back in 2006, Hoof Beats of America. This year we rescued three horses from a feed lot in Nevada, they were soon to be picked up and slaughtered. One of the horses was a bright red yearling filly. Despite all she had been through this filly wanted to accept humans. It didn’t take long before she allowed us to touch her and showed a great interest in getting to know us. Eventually I brought her home with one of our other rescues who soon bonded with this brave little soul. It didn’t take long before the filly would nicker and run to you when you called her. She would let you rub her all over and started following us around like a dog. She was adopted along with her rescue friend to a wonderful home near the rescue. Oh yes, I never told you that red filly’s name? Cherry of course.
Who was your Cherry? Tell me a story. : )