Growing up, I wanted a pony more than anything in the world. Unfortunately, we were poor, and except for one period of less than a year, we didn't live on a farm. So I pushed that desire back into the dark recesses of my mind.
Cliff and I had been married a little over a year when we got the chance to buy an old house on twenty acres, and it wasn't long before we heard of a horse for sale. One we could afford. Her name was Ginger, she was two years old and green broke (barely broke, in other words). We paid $75 for her, and $100 for the saddle that came with her.
We knew nothing about horses, so we bought books and asked friends' advice. I enjoyed many hours on Ginger, but she never was really reliable or trustworthy. She never bucked me off, though. She simply had a tendency to balk at silly things, and spook at the slightest movement.
We've had at least half-a-dozen other horses over the years. I've always promised Cliff, and myself, that if it got to the point where I wasn't riding a horse I owned, I'd sell it. The cost of their upkeep is too high to keep them as a pasture-ornament... plus, it isn't fair to the horse to be put to pasture and given no attention.
When I went to work six years ago, it wasn't long before I decided it was time to sell Pleasure Boy, the horse I had at the time. After walking on my job all day, I had little energy left for riding. When I sold him, I told Cliff, "With my knees like they are, and at my age, I'll probably never have another horse. I've lost the desire, I think."
And then I read the book "Seabiscuit". I can't explain why, but the deeper I got into the book, the more I wanted another horse.
One day I was chatting with a co-worker about her horses, and I told her, "If I could get just the right horse... a horse my whole family could enjoy... for the right price... I think I'd like to have another one."
"I'll bet I could find you that kind of horse," Jessica said.
That led me to Blue, the horse I now own. Some guy who worked with Jessica's husband had a couple of geldings he wanted to sell. Registered Foxtrotters, even. I've always preferred gaited horses. The price was $1,000.
I chose the smallest of the two geldings, and I was back in business.
There were a few problems early on, as Blue and I got acquainted; but he and I soon came to an agreement on how things should be. And once we got to that stage, anyone could ride him: My daughter, my neighbor kids, my grandchildren.
I've finally found a horse I don't intend to sell, even if I never ride him again. He's not only a pet. He's my friend.
So today Cliff and I watched the movie, "Seabiscuit", and I realized how small a thing it takes to change your life.
Thanks to a book I happened to read, I've derived countless hours of pleasure, riding horseback across my beloved Missouri countryside.
And my childhood dream came true.
That's my Blue, today.