When I was 12, my grandpa said he would buy me a horse. I was so excited. There was only one slight catch....buying the horse was the easy part. My Dad reminded me, horses need food, lots of food. They need a place to live; we lived in the city. Horses need medical care from time to time. That all amounted to a lot of money for a free horse. I was devastated. The compromise was horseback riding lessons at a local stable. Every week I learned how to ride a horse. The teacher sent home a set of practice reins, so I could learn to hold them correctly. I still remember the smell of the horse barns, and the leather reins and saddles. It is a distinct smell, and one that I remember as a little slice of Heaven.
As I got older, I never let go of
my love affair with horses. My dream was to own a ranch in Colorado or Montana, where I would raise horses, give riding lessons, and board horses. That never happened, but I know my Dad came very close to buying land in Wyoming, because he too loved anything western. As with dreams, they ebb and flow, and are pushed to the back of our minds as unattainable. When I met my husband, John, all that love came back. Our favorite time each summer was going to the Douglas County Fair. It was in a small town, and was five days of fun, country music stars, and wearing jeans, cowboy boots, and cowboy hats. We still listen to the classic country music on radio and on CD. When we went on a Christian Cruise for our 25th Anniversary, we went horseback riding at one of the Mexican ports we spent the day at. We have always made it a point to go riding whenever we could.
One of our close friends was a DJ on WOW country radio in Omaha, and her father owned the station at one time. Through her we met a family that owned a stable outside Omaha. This was where she boarded her horse, and many other people did too. They also rented horses on the weekends for others to ride. When we met Rick, he asked what our riding experience was. We were totally honest with him. Because we didn't try to say we were experienced, he gave his own personal horse to John to ride. I got one of the other really good horses. It also was a wooded area of trails, hills, and open ground. He allowed us to ride without a guide, and to ride wherever we wanted on his land. We spent every weekend there, and enjoyed our riding up until, Rick sold the stable, and our friend got married and moved away.
Horses are trained to follow commands. Sometimes it is by word, and other times simply by hand and leg movements of the rider. Horses don't come to training naturally. Their nature is to run free, and do it their way. They are beautiful creatures, majestic, and powerful. Watching them run is like watching an effortless, flowing motion of long legs, and flowing mane. I love the nature of horses. They remind me of me. God uses a number of things to get my attention, to train me with words, and moving me from place to place. Sometimes I can be taught but other times I want to run free and do it my way. Like a good riding horse, I need direction, I need training, and I need to be taught with patience and love. I treasure every moment I have been able to ride, and I still get pleasure from the smell of leather and horse barns!