My mom thought I’d outgrow the “horse phase”. After all, other little girls did. She wanted a dainty little girl who played with dolls, held tea parties, was fussy about wearing dresses, stayed clean, and loved playing house. What she got was a child who looked like her carbon copy-but that was it. I hated dolls, thought tea parties were silly, dresses chafed me, dirty was more my style, and as for playing house? nope. Just nope. Could not be bothered.
I was out of the house, climbing the backyard fence, and running across the cornfield to follow my beloved PawPaw plowing with a mule before she knew what was going on. She took to dressing me in red just to keep up with me. I was all of maybe 3 or 4 then. Of course, the fact that PawPaw would throw me up on the mule’s back to ride back to the barn didn’t help her cause a bit.
Then when I was 8, PawPaw died of a stroke-and the mule was sold. I was devastated. He’d promised me that mule. How could they? That began my campaign for my own horse. I was not going to have that happen again.
My mom-mistakenly-thought if she gave me a birthday party with horseback riding that it would be enough-I’d see the ‘light’ and stop. So she found a stable that would do horseback rides and a hay ride for my 10th birthday. It threw gas on the fire. I wanted to bring one of the horses home.
I became one of the most determined people on earth. I wanted my own horse. I knew I had to have one. I read every book in the libraries about horses. I played horses out in the yard. I talked about horses. It was the only thing important to me.
After two years of this, my dad talked my mom into the experience. She rationalized that at age 12, I would soon discover the opposite sex and forget the horses. She was unbelievably off course. I didn’t care-on my birthday, a trailer rolled up and unloaded a bay paint gelding named Poncho. I was on cloud 119.
Poncho and I became soul mates. He was a Girl Scout camp reject and I was the social reject at school. He taught me and I taught him. And, yes, he eventually earned the moniker of ‘Sports Model Jackass’, but he still runs in my dreams. We were together nearly 20 years.
I haven’t been without horses since that day. Every part of me is permeated by horses. If you cannot talk horses-keep walking. If you can, have a seat. Anybody who can treat a horse with love and respect is a friend of mine. Welcome to The Sports Model Jackass.