Horses have always been extremely important to me. Most of you know that the love of horse flesh was something that Dad and I shared. I was visiting with my neighbor and we were discussing how we try to encourage our children to share the same interests. We all want our family to enjoy the same things. I was trying to think what Dad did to encourage me- I think more to the point- he did not discourage me. I can remember always wanting to climb on any four legged animal. I usually rode bareback because Dad said I could ride my horse anytime I wanted but I had to catch it, bridle it, and saddle it myself-Dad did not have the time to chase a horse around just because I to go for an adventure in the pasture. I was too little and I could not lift the saddle, but I could reach the bridles and the lead ropes. So I would go out and rattle a bucket to trap the horses. Sort mine off and catch him and the fun was just beginning. I am not sure that I have ever been happier than I was then-Raising my family has been a joy as well- but be on the back of a horse was something I am not sure I can ever reclaim.
Dad would have horses in the pen as he broke horses for many different people. He had an appaloosa mare he had been riding. I think maybe she was the first appaloosa I had ever seen. He was doing the evening feeding when he got the her trough and poured in the grain. He was telling me how nicely she was coming along. I was wishing that I could have ridden with him that day, I asked what he thought she would do if I hopped on her. While he was telling me he thought she would not do anything - he grabbed a belt loop on each side of me and threw me up on the unsuspecting mare. Well--- he was wrong about her being calm- she cut loose and I never really got in the middle of her before she tossed me in the air- each time I went up, I gained altitude. I hit the corner post of the pen and slide down. Dad was laughing so hard and slapping his leg saying that he would have never thought she had it in her. That broke me of thinking out loud- but it did not break me of wanting to ride. I do not think that I hopped on an unsuspecting horse again. See I do learn- Some of us must learn through pain.
Dad never made me feel like I had to like horses or he never forced me to ride- in fact, Mother kept telling me that I was a girl and I did not have to go out in the barn lot and get dirty- I could stay in the house and do other things- I would rather go out in the corral and see what Dad was up to- You must admit life in the corral was more exciting than anything that ever happened in the house or at least in our house. Mom kept a very tidy home and tried to keep some type of order. She was always on hand to clean up the blood and patch us up so we could go out and do it all over again-
After visiting with my neighbor - it brought back so many fond and scary memories. One was remembering when I had my very own horse and dad tether me to him- Which is another story all together- But we were bringing in a cow that had gotten out- he had taken me as far as he could with me tied to him. He untied me and told me to make the horse do what I wanted and not to let him ran away with me. I was so scared that I would get lost and he would not ever find me again or that I would get dumped and he would be disappointed that I could not do what he told me. I told my pony to be really good and lets not run and we would be okay. When you lean down and talk to your mount and pat him on his neck let him know that together if things go just right you will make it back to the barn without either one of us getting hurt. This does not always work but
for some reason this time the horse did just what he was suppose to do, I found Dad and we brought in the cow. He let me know that he was proud of me- maybe that is what we really need to let our kids know- we love them and we are constantly proud of them.