The following is a guest blog featuring an article by my writer friend, Deborah Taylor-French. Deborah writes a cute dog blog on Word Press called, Dog Leader Mysteries. Please visit her dog blog: http://dogleadermysteries.com/ .
Thank you, Deborah for sharing this article about the “horse crazy” bug. Looks like it bit twice in your family!Photo of Alex and “Missy Brown”, © Deborah Taylor-French
Born Horse Crazy
By Deborah Taylor-French
“Born This Way,” a song made popular by Lady Gaga spins on my teen’s iPod. Alex DJ’s as I drive home from high school. We sing along. Then, she chats about her dance and pottery classes.
Out of habit, I ask, “How is Ashley?”
My daughter snaps, “Mom.”
Oops—slipped up again, being a teens’ mom gets me in heaps of trouble.
I miss those years when my girl felt horse crazy. Afternoons I drove her to riding lessons then leaned on a fence watching her ride felt golden. Our mutual admiration and fascination with horses started young.
My earliest memories are still full of horses.
Born horse crazy says it all. No other explanation fits.
My mom said, “When you were three, your dad had to read you Cowboy Bill, over and over.” By the time I was five, mom took my sister and me to the library. I borrowed every book on horses, horse care and novels based on horses. I dearly loved Walter Farley’s The Black Stallion series. Reread every book over and over.
As a kid living in California’s central valley near Redding, my parents drove us past herds of horses. Surrounded by acres of ranches, large and small, there never was a day that I didn’t see horses grazing in pastures. Soon, I was calling out, “A bay, a chestnut, a palomino—look Mom a buckskin.”
My dream was to have my own horse.
I was not born to parents who owned horses. Mom and dad didn’t share my crazy but they did patiently listen to my obsessive passion for every kind of horse. My step grandfather had worked as a cowboy on cattle ranges in Montana. He told me stories of using his saddle as a pillow, of riding all day and herding cattle. My uncle Scott owned horses and never tried of my horse crazed patter. One day when I was twelve, my uncle drove up pulling a horse trailer with a little quarter horse mare. With his gift, he made my dream come true. But that’s another story.
Right now the only four-footed animal we care for is an adopted poodle mix. He happens to love horses too. You can read about Sid on my blog, Dog Leader Mysteries where he yelps and yips about how rescue dogs rock on Sydney’s Spot.
To this day my love of horses especially quarter horses, Morgan horses, mustangs and trail riding lives on in my daughter.
My daughter’s inborn love of horses surprised me. I hadn’t expected that. I have friends and family members who are terrified of horses. After all when a person stands near a horse for the first time the sheer size difference can be terrifying. Not everybody likes the idea of sitting on a horse’s back. I have heard plenty of horror stories of friends urged into trail rides on vacations.
And my daughter loved to read about horse care, horse breeds and horse ranches. Being mostly a nonreader, she really took to books offering horse and dog nonfiction.
By the time Alex turned seven I started hunting for a riding teacher. I thought finding a teacher of western pleasure riding in Sonoma County would have been easy. I ran into a few bad attitudes about western riding.
Finally, I discovered Christine Cole and her Full House Farm Harmony with Horses http://www.fullhousefarm.com/programs.htm in Sebastopol. Her understanding and devotion to child centered learning and personal safety impressed me. I watched from a distance as my child learned how to communicate with Missy Brown, a fine-boned, calm Arabian. Child to horse love bloomed. My daughter built real relationships with horses of differing personalities, breeds and sizes on the farm.
Because I loved bareback trail riding as a girl, the day I watched my girl head into a strand of redwoods nearly brought tears.
What do I remember from that moment?
Inhaling a lung full of cool fresh air, my chest rose in wordless happiness.
A fullness of life among forested slopes etched in my memory of riding California’s coastal hillsides. Senses enlivened, I recall an unforgettable hush of trails deep in redwood duff, the sound of muffled hooves and my eager certainty that adventure awaited around every bend of trail.
For those of us born this way, just looking a horse makes us happy. For some of us, nothing rivals the sheer freedom of trail riding.
Nothing beats being horse crazy.
Deborah Taylor-French writes both fiction and nonfiction. Her goal is to save dogs’ lives and dog lovers’ sanity at www.dogleadermysteries.com. Animal welfare, current animal research, dog rescue and the humane treatment of wild and tame creatures remain a lifelong passion. Deborah belongs to Redwood Writers, a branch of the California Writers Club. Deborah has completed her first novel for kids 8 to 12.
www.dogleadermysteries.com. Animal welfare, current animal research, dog rescue and the humane treatment of wild and tame creatures remain a lifelong passion. Deborah belongs to Redwood Writers, a branch of the California Writers Club. Deborah has completed her first novel for kids 8 to 12.
Tags: horse crazy, Born This Way, Lady Gaga, bareback riding, trail riding, Full House Farm, Dog Leader Mysteries, Deborah Taylor-French, California Writers Club.
Hi Robin and Deborah,
This is a delightful memoir piece describing Deborah’s relationship with her daughter and with horses. Thanks for writing, Deborah, and for posting it, Robin.
Thanks, Arletta! Yes, horses can be “good medicine” for the soul.