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I remember ponies calling me over to feed them handfuls of grass from the time I was four. Growing up, ponies and horses dumped me on manure piles then ran to their barns. I’ve tackled their heads to get bits in, only to be scraped off. A pony picked me up once between my shoulder blades in its defiance of being led from the pasture. Its friends the cows chased me. Most of the time I ended up having a great ride getting my teeth jarred loose.
A product of the late sixties, my childhood gave me the freedom to ride a bicycle to school. I tied string to the handlebars as reins and named it Lightening. It was my first horse. I rode every mutt pony, horse no one else would, any neglected nag in the back field and made friends with any girl who had two.
When I was in my late twenties, after some college, including Language Arts, then the USAF, marriage and babies, I managed to conquer my dream and became a horse owner.
One of them died two years ago. Sugarbabe was a Tennessee Walking Horse. She won first place in confirmation in North Carolina. She won my heart the first time I yelled, “Do you want a bath?” And she answered. Sugarbabe blew, tossed her long neck and ran to the barn. Her sister, Class, is still with me. She is twenty. I am forty-nine. Both of us, at heart, are only thirteen when we are out on the trail.