For a long time I thought that having a horse is like having a boat. Expensive, time-consuming, lots of trouble and not worth the effort. But before that, before I started saying that horses scare me because they’re so big, I did want a horse. For some reason, at some point, I started rewriting the story, saying to my self and to other people, that I was never really interested in horses. But that’s not the truth.
Until today I always dismissed my desire for horses as something that every little girl goes through. My Little Pony and all that. I mean, I wanted a monkey too when I saw it in a pet store and believed my mother would let me have it if I could only convince her how much I really wanted it. So what’s the difference? Maybe if monkeys were domesticated and lived with humans as long as horses have I’d be living with a monkey. I can only say that it feels like the horses have sought me out. That they keep coming back, no matter how many times I push them away.
I can see that the story about horses being scary and too expensive and all that, is the kind of story an adult would tell. It’s practical and “realistic”. But it goes beyond that. It’s also contemptuous to compare a horse to a boat. And it makes sense to me now that I would want to see horses and their relationship with people as something to be ridiculed, because it was something I wanted and didn’t have.
I spent this afternoon with Eli, her husband is our farrier Ken Norman. They rescue, own and board horses. Eli and I spent an hour or so with one of their ponies, Chloe. She showed me how to brush Chloe, scrape the mud from her hooves, saddle her and lunge. (Lunging is when you have the horse on a lead rope and she runs and walks in circles around you with you letting her know where you want her to go and how fast). We talked about me taking lessons and, if it works between us, me taking Chloe home sometime around May.
When I left there, I started thinking about the money and time I would be putting into learning how to ride and care for Chloe. How it would take away from my work and how I would be making less money because of it. And I was having a hard time getting past that. When I tried to think about how I felt about the afternoon, that was all I could think of. So I asked myself, if I put those things aside, then what was I feeling. And that’s when I remembered the story before the story. How I really felt before I started comparing horses and boats. Before I convinced myself that I was afraid of horses.
And if I go back to the first story, that’s what I felt today, being with Chloe. The innocence and confidence of a kid that doesn’t know any better. The belief that it is actually possible.