It is funny that I have a photo of my daughter and one of our horses as my header (I adore that picture!) but have never posted much on horses. Every now and then I say to myself, you really should write more about horses. But we all have to wait until the time is right, to be *inspired*, and to actually have something to say.
It was today, while mucking and raking hay, that repetitous movement that allows our mind to wander and think, that it all came back to me. And I did have something to say.
Try as I might, I cannot remember the very first time I became enamored, but I do remember as a little tot my sister and I received matching black fabric, comfy horses to sit and bounce around on . I remember it so vividly and was in love.
It wasn't long after that I got one of those bouncy horses on springs . I would pretend it was real and spend hours on it with my imagination. I must have shown a love of horses from an early age because of all the horsey gifts I received, OR perhaps it was all the gifts I received that increased my awareness and love of horses. I will have to ask my mom.
Soon a collection of horse figurines entered my life. I remember the Palominos with the flowing manes, one rearing and the other eating grass. I played for hours with my horses, on the grass and in a dirt square which was their paddocks. They even got numerous baths.
It was out of the question that we own a real live horse. We lived off the center of a small town on a very tiny lot, but was fortunate enough to have that borrowed landscape to look at and to romp in. Over the stone wall, a meadow beckoned us and we ran like horses, played hide n seek and discovered bits and pieces of the natural world.
I was the oldest of six children and my mother always needed my help. I would often ask her if I could please have *outside* chores instead of inside ones, but inside was where I was needed the most even though Nature and horses and the outdoors called to me.
We lived in an old house, a mix of colonial and victorian. Most of the intricate inside and outside mouldings were taken down by my parents as they tried to *modernize* it, much to my dismay when I grew older. We had a big attached barn with large wooden sliding doors in the front. It was used to house a carriage the century before. Around the back of the barn and underneath were two horse stalls for the horses who pulled the carriage.
Underneath the barn was HOME to me. It is where I felt I belonged. It was where my imagination and my life with my horses flourished. The horse stalls had an earthen floor and many hours were spent down there. It was imagination on a grandiose scale. You see, I did have horses, they just weren't real live ones. They were old wooden saw horses, the kind used in building and carpentry work.
I had four of them, their names lost in my memory now, but each day they were turned out to *pasture* on the grass, saddled, bridled and rode, given fresh water and baths, and tucked back into their stalls each night. I used old blankets and towels as saddles and cotton ropes as bridles and lead ropes.
I really don't remember how old I was when I stopped playing with those horses but it would be quite old by today's standards, as children grow up too fast now as many things aren't cool .
I remembered trading my horsey days to nature days with friends, picnicing, fishing, hiking and catching frogs all day long behind a house at the end of our street, full of ponds streams, woodlands, and paths to connect with nature. Years later that same area gave way to an apartment complex. We went on to being secret agents and spying on people around town on our bikes and holding clandestine meetings, based on Mission Impossible. We each had our own briefcase.
But my love for horses never waned, just took different forms. I read horse books, collected horse figurines and went horseback riding at a local stable, and knew someday I would have my own. Looking back I wished I had become more involved with horses on a personal level, even volunteering my time at a barn or just going to observe them on a regular basis. But I was extremely shy and new situations were hard for me. My mom couldn't always go and stay places with me, having five younger children to tend to.
Then there was high school and college and I never gave much thought to my dream of horses, although every time I saw one, my heart skipped a beat, and I was transformed back to that magical world, if only for a few minutes. It still didn't seem possible I would ever have a horse of my own.
In hindsight, it would have made perfect sense, as I became more independent, to go after my dream and become more involved with horses in some capacity even if I couldn't own one. I *could* have done it, but I didn't, and I think that was a big mistake.
It never entered my mind to do what really made me *happy*. The mission was to go to school, graduate from college, get a job. Dreams and happiness didn't really enter in. It wasn't until years later, when I had my last two children, and we unschooled, that I realized what a vital part happiness and dreams play in one's life. If it had, then art, children, animals
(horses!) and nature would have been my life's passion and work from the very beginning!
It IS a huge mistake not to think about our dreams and try as much as possible to attain them. Perhaps we can't always have exactly what we want but we *can* take steps to make our lives richer and more joyful and can include some part of our dreams in our lives.
"Dream your dreams with open eyes and make them come true."
~ T. E. Lawrence