I grew up in the country, where having animals was the norm, everyone had something whether it was sheep, cows, or horses. There were many shit things with my childhood, however, the animals were the constant. They were my "friends" and I would feed them and care for them, providing hours of entertainment, and happiness.
I learnt to ride at an early age, and I was very good, I had no fear, and would take on the biggest jump, the hardest pony, and the toughest challenges. I made sure that I became friends with the girls whose families were rich, so that I could spend hours around their ponies. I hunted these girls out, and shamelessly pretended to like them, when in fact all I wanted was the opportunity to ride.
I loved every moment of being at the stables, the smells, the sounds, the magical world that it had opened up to me. When your childhood is not the best, you immerse yourself in other worlds, and mine was horses, and animals. Everything came together, and the scruffy kid who everyone thought was weird, got the opportunity of a lifetime.
This time of my life was care free, I bonded with the ponies I was privileged to ride, and they were my best friends. I told them everything, all my secrets, my dreams, and of course my problems, and to this day they were the best listeners. Sadly, I hit a bump in the road, and went off the rails, giving up on my dreams, and moved on with life.
Boyfriends, college, and life took over, and I left my care free world behind, and plunged face first into adulthood. Over the next few years the memories were there, and I always vowed that one day I would have my own horses, this dream was shelved for later, much later so it turned out. One day I found myself middle aged up a mountain, back in the middle of no where, but with the finances, and facilities to fulfil that dream.
The child in me was delighted, everything was in place, all the goodies were bought that as a child I would lust over, nose pressed against the glass of the tack shop. Of course I wanted to rescue a horse, not buy one, so the day Magic was offered to me, I burst with excitement. You would think everything was perfect now, however, it wasn't.
I soon discovered keeping horses as an adult is hard work, everything is tougher, and a huge challenge. Older bones are stiffer in the morning, and the spring in my step was more of a dawdle. I wanted to go back to the place I remember, the 5am starts full of enthusiasm, and excitements, where nothing mattered, just me and the ponies.
Sadly, it was impossible to reach, it had gone, and the magical world was now a grown up one, still with amazing horses, but an older me. The fearless child had been replaced with a cautious adult, who didn't want her feet stamped on, or her bones broken if she fell. I apologised to the teenage girl inside me, and realised I would not get back in the saddle, the reality was I would not bounce like I once had if I fall.
Horses had not changed, but I had lived a whole life, and become aware of my mortality. I realised that day that life changes us, and no matter how much you want to capture that dream, memories have to be enough. When I close my eyes I can see that teenage girl, galloping at full pelt across a field, with no riding hat on, and no cares in the world. I consider myself to have been lucky to be that girl, and lucky that I can watch my horses from the ground, thriving and enjoying life.