I loved horses as a little girl. I was collecting model horses and constructing stalls and fences out of pieces of wood when other little girls were playing with Barbie. Ok, I was playing with Barbie too, only I was trying to help her ride my Breyer horses. Her legs wouldn’t bend the right way and she always sat a horse cockeyed. Barbie made Breyer's Clydesdale look like Breyer's Shetland pony. Barbie was far from perfect.
I fell in love with The Black in the Sears catalog and named him, Cass Ole, before I was sure he was my Christmas present. Even my favorite celebrities were horses.
I had a Shetland pony named Charlie Boy and eventually I graduated to a three-quarters Arabian named, IBN. “Ibn” means “son of” in Arabic and his full name was Ibn Sharamoot. (Don’t look that up unless you want to get schooled in Arabic profanity.)
Ibn was "Rebecca-trained" and extremely versatile. He could run barrels and poles, and go from Western Pleasure to Hunter Hack. We won high-points at horse shows. He didn’t wait for my cues in pleasure classes; when the announcer said, “Ladies and Gentlemen, would you please trot your horses,” Ibn would assume the gait. Like I said, he was Rebecca-trained --and I was a mouthy little girl. I was also a one horse girl.
During my teen years the horse bug had morphed into a pesky fly as our love wasn’t strong enough to withstand my hatred of back-breaking labor in triple digit heat. Plus, it was more fun to chase boys than it was to chase horses. (I couldn't outrun horses but I was faster than all the boys.)
My knight in shining armor would not be a cowboy. I wanted to get away from horses.
I have been horse free for almost nineteen years. But, for the past two days I’ve had to “cowgirl up” and live the life I thought my husband had rescued me from: back-breaking labor in triple digit heat.
Ibn is still around. He is 34 years old. That’s pretty old for a horse.
Today I looked into one of his big brown eyes and saw the familiar shades and patterns engraved in his iris. His iris always reminded me of rough craggy rocks sketched around his cavernous rectangular pupil. In his eye is a miniature scenic shot of the Grand Canyon. I remember thinking he had the Grand Canyon in his eye. Not literally, of course, that would be impossible.
Regaining that twenty-year-old observation made the fact that I was covered in sweat and mud worth it. It also made me miss horses.
NOT THE WORK.
(I can't sleep again. I am so wired and I don't know why.)
Originally posted July 31, 2010 here: http://www.victoriaadvocate.com/weblogs/learning-in-freedom/2010/jul/31/missing-horses/