When I was a young girl, I dreamed of owning a horse. I read all the Walter Farley horse stories and cherished every page, however, I was the second child of six and my family did not have money for the luxury of a horse. I dreamed anyway. Each Christmas I told my parents I was certain this would be the Christmas I would find a saddle and bridle under the tree and directions to the barn where I could find my new horse. Each Christmas there were toys and clothes and other gifts, but no bridle and no saddle.
I rode every time an opportunity came along. Then, the summer before my last year in nursing school, while just sitting around in my room, I said to myself, ‘I am going to buy a horse today.’ And I did. I bought a quarter-type mare named Lady.
What I did not know was that Lady was ‘spoiled.’ She was not well mannered and could be very unpredictable. She would quickly jump as if afraid of objects and could turn on a dime. I did not have the skills needed to ride when she twisted her body this way or spun around on her back heels. I was convinced she did this to throw me off her back. I was afraid of her and would drive home after trying to ride her crying, ‘I bought a horse I cannot ride.’
Once, when attempting to ride Lady around the grounds she was stabled at, she began to rear and move quickly from objects we were passing and scared me so badly I dismounted and tied her to the fence with her bridle on- a real ‘no -no’ in riding. I went back to the barn to ask someone to get her because they were not afraid of her. As I shared my fears with a friend at the barn, he assured me I would be riding her everywhere in six months. I did not believe him, but he was right. I did learn to control her and ride her erratic movements, but she was not much fun and I wanted a horse I could enjoy.
I found a thoroughbred who was easy to ride and loved him immediately. He was kind and rode quietly and was a delight in every way. I was amazed when Lady pinned her ears and showed her teeth as I rode him past her stall. She never gave me the impression she knew who I was, that she knew I loved her, or that she loved me.
One sunny afternoon, a friend and I decided to ride the horses to a nearby park several roads away from the barn. He rode Lady and I rode the thoroughbred. I trotted ahead of them – across a large field as a matter of fact- when I realized she dumped him and was running full speed – riderless with stirrups flapping in the wind- in the direction of the barn. I was frantic because all I could image was her being hit by a car or falling in the street with slippery metal shoes as she ran furiously down busy streets and across main roads to get back to her barn.
I started screaming, “LADY” “LADY, COME GIRL.” To my surprise, she stopped, looked my way, and began running full speed in my direction. I continued to call her name and she came right to me and the thoroughbred. Relief is a word. Love is another word. She really did know I was her owner and the one who cared for her and loved her. I saw her differently after that day. She became my Lady.
Share your story when you had a pleasant and unexpected surprise.