Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A Love Affair with Horses

Spending part of this Valentine’s Day considering on the love affair with horses that blossoms under our roof and reflecting on how it all began …

When our oldest daughter was not yet in grade school, we would frequently take her to the Will Rogers Complex in Fort Worth, where it seems there was a horse show of some variety every other weekend.  Taking in the sights of the show arena and meandering up and down the aisles of the barns really set a sparkle in our kid’s eye.  Invariably, with the safety disengaged on her blonde hair and cute smile, our budding cowgirl would find her way up onto the back of someone’s pony.  Little did I know how much free admission would really cost …

I remember going to a rodeo where our gal would hang on the rail and encourage the barrel racers at the top of her lungs:  “Go!  Go! Go!”  Soon, she and her younger sister were performing their own stick-horse rodeos in our den:  flag bearers, speed events, even horse judging.  Every now and then, we drag out those old videos and enjoy a full-family laugh.

At an age when her boots were still pointing skyward while sitting atop a horse, the oldest began taking lessons in a Western saddle.   Her interest grew.  With an eye toward deepening her horsemanship, her mother soon enrolled her in English lessons.  The promise always was that she could return to Western upon gaining proficiency in the fundamentals, but once she got a glimpse of jumping, her course was set.  And our youngest, who as we have previously established here was raised in a barn, was similarly drawn to the English disciplines; although, she recently took her first barrel riding lesson.  How about that.

I often joke (I think it is a joke …) that I tried to promote swimming as an interest and athletic pursuit for our children.  When, after all, was the last time you needed a trailer to haul a pair of goggles to a swim meet?  Alas, it was the horses who captured the hearts of our children and helped write at least a chapter – if not a volume – of our family’s life.

Happy trails and happy Valentine’s Day.

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