Hard to say from whence the obsession arose, but I think some people are just born with the love of horses as part of the very fiber of their souls. I am one of those. It was the dream that, despite all logic and logistics pointing to the contrary, refused to die. It would not have mattered if I never was blessed to own one; it would have been a part of my soul nonetheless. That it took 50 years for this dream to be realized also matters not at all.
My earliest memories of wanting a horse were fueled by 1950s-1960s TV: Zorro and Tornado, Lone Ranger & Silver, Hoppy & Topper, Roy & Trigger, Velvet & King. My mind could not differentiate between wanting to OWN a horse and wanting to BE a horse. My play generally centered around the latter, and I ran around with the abandon of a wild mustang, my spirit refusing to be tamed or daunted by the small minds of small town Pennsylvania. I had a shoe box full of model horses that were my most cherished playthings.
I became a voracious, insatiable reader, and my subject of choice was, of course, horses. I read every Anna Sewell, Margherite Henry, and Walter Farley book there was, and probably dozens, if not hundreds more. Then I read technical books, how-to books, books about various equine disciplines, horse anatomy. I drew horses and I dreamed about horses. With the innocence (or brazenness) of a child, I'd let myself into peoples' pastures and barns to hang with their horses. Naturally, I made my passion known to my parents, but with 5 children under the age of 10 in suburbia, owning a horse wasn't in the cards for me.
When I reached junior high age, I'd save my babysitting and gift money to go riding at a local stable. It's odd for me to think about it now, but my hobbies and passions and indeed my very nature must have been so alien to my parents. They were quite strict with me (eldest child, only girl), but when I wanted to go riding, they'd literally take me and drop me off at the gate to the stables! Different time, eh? These days it would be no unaccompanied minors and even then, you'd have to sign waivers and such. Back then, it was no big deal. I'd just call them when I was ready to be picked up. And for a few hours, I'd live my dream on some poor world-weary hack.
Boys, high school, college, marriages, a kid, divorces, major geographical moves -- life happens. I didn't give much thought to horse ownership. Fifteen years ago, in what can only be described as "one of those God things," I met the love of my life and embarked on a whole new chapter. He grew up on his grandparents' farm and his dream was always to live in the country. We bought land just south of the Red River and that old familiar obsession popped back up with a vengeance. We owned the land for about 2 years before we moved out here, and while still living in suburbia, I took riding lessons, which were marginal at best, but I got to be around horses, so it was all good to me.
The years that followed had us concentrating on our careers, getting the kid raised up and the land and house squared away. And then came the fateful morning in November 2006 when I walked in the door at work and found myself staring straight at a "For Sale" notice on the bulletin board. It was love at first sight. I walked over, pulled it off the board and said (maybe out loud), "MINE."
Next time: What the HELL have I done??