Feb. 25, 2012 “Grazing”

Day 25

Grazing

Painting a Day

Day 25

“Grazing”

“There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.” ~Winston Churchill

What is it about a horse (or pony) that makes every little girl want one when they’re little….and for some of us, continue to want one when we’ve grown?  Some of us are lucky enough to get that horse/pony and find that we have a friend for life who totally stole our heart.

I was one of those little girls.  I started out with a “bouncy horse” for Christmas.  You know, one of those plastic horses that were suspended from a frame by springs that you could sit on and bounce up and down or forward and backward as if you were galloping along on the open range?  What an amazing Christmas gift.  I remember wearing boots and a hat and hopping on that horse and riding forever.  It was a dappled gray steed that could run like the wind and jump over anything in my imagination.

A few years later, on my birthday, I graduated to a little Shetland pony who I named Beauty.  I still remember the day I met Beauty like it was yesterday.  She was a little dappled, dark palomino, pony with a blonde mane and tail who loved sugar cubes.  I thought she was the most beautiful pony there was and couldn’t wait to ride.  Well, let’s just say that riding her was not like riding my dappled gray bouncy horse.  Beauty was not as willing and mighty steed as he was.  She was very hard to catch and stubborn under the saddle.  Among those fond, riding memories are the times she decided she was done riding and laid down with me in the field, took me back to the shed, bucked my brother off in a briar patch, and the time she’d run under the pine tree in the field.  As frustrating and disappointing as that all was, I cried and cried when she had to go.

Fast forward to a couple of years later when my grandpa started teaching me to ride his big sorrel, saddle horses, Cindy and Major.  They were every bit of 16 hands high or more (a hand equals 4 inches, measured from the ground to the withers).  I felt like I was on top of the world when I was on them and it was both exciting and scary.  I was riding a “big” horse!  Each one had their own personality—Cindy was always in a hurry and had to be in front, Major on the other hand was slow and stubborn but loved for you to hug on him when you were on the ground.  I remember riding Cindy on my first trail ride…..she fought with me about being in front of everyone and we flat moved down the road, definitely a learning experience for an inexperienced rider.

Finally, one day my dad took me to look at a little horse named Rex, that was coming up for sale on a local auction.  He was about the prettiest thing I’d ever seen—he had four white stockings, a bald face, and one blue eye.  He really carried himself like he was all that!  He was sorrel with a sandy colored mane and tail that was as thick as they came.  He was in a pasture with a bunch of calves.  He ruled the pasture.  The guy who owned him told us he was so “round” because he kept fighting the calves off from the grain and definitely got his fair share!  We ended up buying him on the auction and got him home.  He was quite a handful.  He was terrified of pigs, he liked to rear up, he didn’t want to load on a trailer, he loved to run—whether his rider wanted to or not, he tried to bite when the cinch was tightened, he was stubborn, and he was full of energy.  As I became a more confident rider and Rex and I traveled more and more miles together, we both learned and improved.  I wish I knew exactly how many hours I spent with him and how many miles we traveled together.  That little horse got to the point that I think he would’ve walked through fire if I would’ve asked.  My daughter even got the chance to start to learn to ride on him.  Sadly, he died of a stroke before she got to spend much time with him, which left two girls very heartbroken.

There have been other horses in my life since Rex and others currently in my life but none have quite measured up to him.  He is the one horse I’ve compared all others to.  I have one now that has a very similar personality and is running a very close second but he’s just not my Rex.  Maybe it is because I’ve just not been able to spend the same amount of time with him that I did with Rex, maybe it’s because I was more patient back then, or maybe it was because I didn’t hold back and wasn’t afraid of anything then and I’ve wised up now……or maybe it is because I’ve just not given this guy the same chances to prove himself to me and have held back…….

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