If you have horses in your blood, you know it’s an incurable disease. The only relief for the ache is more horses. It’s an affliction that can come on suddenly, with no warning. It may be genetic, but for some, it’s occurrence is just luck of the draw. And when you’re the middle child of seven children in a horse-less military family, the need for horses is like a thirst for water in a barren desert. Horses were my dream.
This dream carried me through my young life. Through the stress of frequent moving, constant change, new schools, new language, there was always the dream of horses. I couldn’t quite make out what the cool kids were doing at the new school, my uniform wasn’t right, and my teachers were frustrated with the curriculum I came with from my old school- but there was always horses.
In the bedroom of my tenth floor apartment,
I could look out the window down to the street packed with cars, taxis, buses, and horse drawn carts. Smog settled over it all in thick clouds. Dark clouds of exhaust billowed out of buses, but inbetween it all, the horse drawn cart- the horse quietly providing transportation, income and a spark of joy for that one person. A shred of hope and beauty in a sea of garbage, misery, and noise.
It didn’t matter if the horses were the sleek, well fed thoroughbreds I jumped at the military riding school, or the bony nags tethered to the strip of grass on the highway. If there were horses nearby, I knew I could carry my dream alive.
My daughter learned to walk in grassy fields. She wakes up every day to birds chirping, not buses and taxis honking. A soft muzzle is always a touch away. It doesn’t matter to me if she never rides, or if horses don’t stir her heart the way they have mine. But I’m proud to watch her grow with the freedom to be who she is, whatever that may be, surrounded by animals who offer unconditional caring. If she never chooses to ride, she will at least carry the strength and joy that horses so generously offer in the core of her being.