30 Day Photo Challenge: Day 12


My friendship with Bacardi (above) was the inspiration behind the concept for The Royal Rogue.

Day 12 – A picture of something you love

I think I was born loving horses. Ever since I could speak I started begging my parents for a pony. Whenever my parents ask me what I want for Christmas, the answer’s always been the same (except now I ask for a pony with tennis shoes).

In middle school I was given a pony named Whiskey, and told that if I could break her, she was mine. I hated that term, “breaking”. I didn’t want to ride a horse that didn’t want to be ridden. I desired a bond; a companionship. I spent several days bribing her with sweet feed, and slipped a halter around her head. I’d brush her, pet her, talk to her, let her know I was a friend. Soon she came to me easy enough.

We then tried to train my pony under saddle, but she’d have no part in that. The ol’ girl knew every trick in the book. You could tighten that strap so tight you’d think it’d stick to a greased pig, but as soon as you sat on her back she’d exhale and you’d slide like a fool to the ground.

So I ditched the saddle. I chose to ride her bareback, and I fell in love with that feeling. Whiskey didn’t seem to mind so much. She’d let me ride her when I wanted. I didn’t know how special our bond was until other folks came by and tried to ride her.

All of them had trouble. I couldn’t believe the clever girl had changed her gait into the choppiest, bounciest trot I had ever seen. My brother fell more times than I could count. The amusement in her rich brown eyes was evident as she glanced at my brother groaning on the ground. She looked at me, twitched her ears and I recognized the pride in her eyes.

At that moment I understood the only reason I rode her was because she let me. And I smiled back.

Middle school passed, and sadly things got a little complicated and I had to give up my pony. I wouldn’t get to ride like that again until high school. A friend of my dad’s gave birth to her second daughter and needed some help with her horses. She asked if I’d be interested in helping out at her barn, and I agreed. I would spend countless afternoons there, looking after an Appaloosa named Bacardi. Just like Whiskey, I’ll never forget that horse. Quirky, but so easy to love.

Again, I found myself looking not just at a mount, but a friend. About that time I found myself wondering what it would be like to put a voice to the soul that I saw underneath those long, white lashes; a concept that became the heart of The Royal Rogue, where my imagination ran wild.

Today my riding days are a lot fewer and far between, but the desire has never dwindled. My dreams still have hooves printed in them. During the next few years, I plan to save and buy a plot of land, with a barn and two horses. One will be the right horse, the one I’m meant to ride with. The other will be a mini. With tennis shoes.

Like I said in the beginning, some things are just born in you.

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