Thursday, May 15, 2008
As a child I was horse crazy. I still kind of am, though not enough that I have horses on my walls, pillows, etc. Horses are huge, gentle, creatures, with unmatched beauty and grace. And speed. I'm not sure what always attracted me to horses, but like many young girls, I was horse crazy. I read every series of horse books out there including the Black Stallion and Fury series. I knew about colic in horses, and how it can kill them. I knew about fetlocks and feathers, gaits and geldings, withers and warmbloods. My CCM supercycle was turquoise and one speed and I named it Mustang.
I learned to ride when I was 13 on a gorgeous buckskin gelding named Nugget. I had no idea what I was doing but I learned quickly and within a couple of days was able to ride bareback. I stuck to that horse like a burr, though I hope not as annoying. He was the eldest horse at the stable and apparently the gentlest. The only fly in the ointment was his experience as a youngster with a barb-wire fence and his face. He still bore the scars of his entanglement and that endeared him to me even more. He did take off in fright on the first day. When on a trail ride we had to walk across a barb wire fence laid down in the field in preparation for installment. As soon as he saw it, he sped off with tiny little me on his back pulling on the reins as hard as I could. I was small for my age and it took everything I had to stop him. That's when they explained to me about his bad experience. Nugget had several black lines on his tan face. They were the scars from the fence and as far as I was concerned, they were streaks of beauty. They gave him a story.
One horse story I read as a kid was The Blind Colt by Glen Rounds. It's a wonderful story about the birth and first year of life of a blind colt and the boy who catches and trains it. (As an adult I went looking for the book and it took a while to track down and order.)
I also had an affinity for Beethoven as a kid. I took piano lessons for several years and my favourite composer by far was Ludwig. The fact that the man composed some of the greatest music the world has ever heard while he was deaf, impressed me to no end. I had a poster of Einstein on my wall when I was 10. What I liked about him was that he had failed a grade or two in school but still went on to become...well, you know what happened to him.
As a teenager, I was a real geeky kid. I enjoyed school and reading and in grades 8 and 9 was bullied for this. I was once mistaken for a boy at the age of 14 (I was a late bloomer) and I didn't fit in with most of the kids in school so I spent a lot of time by myself. I was different and felt it. Nugget, The Blind Colt, Beethoven and Einstein all became role models for me as I navigated the typical angst ridden teenage years. I knew that whatever hell I was going through at the time would eventually come to an end, though that was little solace then. I couldn't wait to be an adult where I'd be in the company of other adults who wouldn't treat me like an outcast. Naive, eh?
I'm not sure why I had an affinity as a kid for the underdog or those with a traumatic life experience. Being small, perhaps I saw strength in those facing "disabilities" or challenges and admired that. Perhaps the Gods were foreshadowing my own challenges.