The hearts of children are stolen by the infamous Disney horses every time they watch Disney movies. We all know everyone wanted Pegasus to be their best friend when they were younger. Don’t lie, because who wouldn’t want a high five and head-butt giving horse with wings? Not to mention that blue mane and tail is always a conversation starter.
Can we talk about Maximus for a second? That horse is every girl’s dream horse. He is always there to protect his princess whenever needed. Maximus is a sweet boy with a touch of an edge. When I was younger I had my trusty steed to keep me safe from the danger around me. He was my Maximus but he was also my Pegasus because he gave me the wings to soar and loved to play in the field. However, I didn’t start in the “I love horses” phase. The phase took time to latch on and when it finally hit me, it stuck with me for a while.
Parents probably hope from the time their kids are born to the time they hit three years old that they will not develop a love for horses because the love for horses turns into a long, expensive road ahead of them. Not to mention, the parents probably are already scared of college expenses. Horses are expensive and there is no doubt about it. A 1100lbs. animal sure does cost a lot. Anyone that had a 4-H animal knows those darn charts we had to fill out every year that was a full record of turnout days, ride time, work hours, how much feed, salt intake, etc. per month. I copied the same chart from my 2008 project book until the last one I did in 2013. I COPIED THE SAME THING FOR SIX YEARS! (Oops. I’m not that sorry to be honest!) If anyone thinks I am going no where with this; just keep reading because my point is coming — trust me.
I started riding when I was a mere 7 years old in 2nd grade. It all started off as lessons then one thing led to another and one moment we were moving barns and then BAM! We bought our first horse, Freedom. Freedom has grown into a sweetheart and an amazing lesson horse for me.
However, Freedom was not the horse that made me fall in love with the sport of horseback riding. An old fella by the name of Red made me fall in love with the sport, time and time again. Red was around 30 years old, we think, and never once put me in danger. He gave me 150% effort and never gave up on me. He was my Angus and always will be.
He continued to blow my mind day after day and no matter what he always had something new to show me. He showed me that he could still learn and adapt. He was willing to trust me and I was willing to trust him. I learned countless lessons from the few years I had with him.
There is a reason the “I love horse” phase has never went away and its because there is always something new and exciting. The feeling of having wings when you ride horses is a feeling that you don’t get with anything else. (Disclaimer: No Redbull needed!)
Red passed away almost two years ago in July. As I type I have tears in my eyes; just like every time I write about this horse. Every parent should dream of their child having a bond with someone like Red and I did. We were inseparable and to this day we are still inseparable. I learned to communicate with a large livestock animal without saying one word and he learned to communicate with a teenage girl.
In 2011, we bought our second horse Shy. She is the ultimate bitch somedays but we are a match made in heaven. She was bought to replace Red since Red was not doing so well at the time. When we bought Shy she was a prissy spoiled show horse that didn’t want anything to do with mud and puddles.
Never leaving this phase has taught me so much. Being at the barn kept me out of trouble and away from bad influences. Growing up with horses around really taught me how to be patient and be willing to learn. Shy and I will never have the bond that Red and I had but we have a different kind of bond. The best feeling is having your horse follow you around and they move with you. It’s a feeling like no other because for once in your life something fully trusts you to guide them. You could be guiding them over a rickety old bridge and they would still put one hoof in front of the other for you.
The kind of fun kids should be having is dressing up like no one cares because the only thing that matters is that you have the one animal that loves you by your side.
I still have not grown out of the “I Love Horses” Phase and I do not plan to any time soon. People say that you should wake up and love your significant other more, today more than yesterday and less than tomorrow. Well, horses make you fall in love with them each day more, today than yesterday and less than tomorrow.
“In riding a horse, you borrow freedom”
Dedicated In Memory of Red – July 15th, 2014