Sometimes, when I do something for or with my horse, I get little flashbacks to my youth.
When I was a child I adored horses: I read horse books, I invented horse stories, I played horse games with my horse mad friend, I painted horses, I plastered the walls of my room with horses etc. But in real life I had very little contact to flesh and blood horses.
I tried, but mostly I got some bad experiences out of it. When my uncle bought a couple of horses for his daughters I tried to get involved. But I fell of, or did not get along, and just generally had no idea how to treat a horse.
The only time when I was not afraid of (real) horses was when I was about 3 or 4 years old. A close friend of my fathers had imported some ponies from Island, and I adored them. There exists a picture of me sitting on one of the ponies, my feet not even reaching beyond the saddle. I look completely and utterly happy on that horse. I am pretty sure that the whole horse madness started there: in the saddle of a Islandic pony, not even a very safe one, where I felt this perfect rightnes, the one I have been looking for ever since.
I have a very dim memory of riding in front of my fathers friend and falling of. I rolled down a bank, laughing all the time, while he was looking for me and quite worried (he later lost a daughter in a riding accident). A short time later, maybe when I was 5 or 6, I changed and became the fearful person I am today.
But that couldn’t stop me from trying to get into contact with horses. There were the arabs that an architect kept in a field behind the appartment building we were living in, or the ponies to be ridden at the local fair. When I was 16 it took all my courage to ask a lady in our village to give me riding lessons. She was a horrible teacher, the horse was a much better one. Sadly I did not really profit from it, as I was petrified with fear most of the time. I often cried in the lessons.
A lot of my time was spent cleaning horses. The horse I rode did not have a very nice personality: as soon as the teachers head was turned, it would use my fear against me and no longer let me near. I went there for years, and am very sorry for it, as I am still trying to unlearn the stupid things I was taught there, by the teacher and by my fear.
A turning point was when I went for a riding holiday in France. We went for a two or three hour ride every day, in beautiful landscape. It took a lot of courage for me to ride, and I was always glad when it was over. But the rest of the days were pure bliss. I am usually a late sleeper, but in that week I was always the first person up, visiting the horses, smelling the horses, listening to the horses, just being around the horses. I was happy there. And I came back again and again. Those holidays were a kind of therapy for me.
But what I wanted to get at in the beginning are those flashbacks when I realise that today I am a person who owns a horse (even two, if you count the absent pony in). I am one of those lucky people I was so much in awe of, those I desperately wanted to be but didn’t dare believe that I would ever turn into. When I was a young women I even decided I did not WANT to own a horse, this being so stressful and expensive and so on (and right I was).
When I get those flashbacks I can’t believe how incredibly lucky I am: I have dreamed all my life of horses, of arabs – and today there is my very own dream horse just on the other side of the street where I live. I am allowed to care for him, to ride him, to pet him. He knows me and greets me when I come. He is absolutly stunning to look at, with the most beautiful, shiny, dark, soulful eyes you could imagine, a magical star on his brow and a funny little spot on his chin.
And do you know what? He is not the only one of my impossible dreams that came true: I agonised over the first and only boy I ever really loved for years and years, while he had no idea about this and changed girlfriends several times. And who is married to him now, eh? I am!
And when I was a teenager and dreamed of getting pregnant and running away to foreign lands to rise my love child all by myself, I saw very vivid pictures of the child, a boy with a special name. And it is exactly the same boy with the same name that I put to bed tonight.
I am indeed a very very lucky person. Someone who has not only dreamed, but also seen those dreams fullfilled, in the nicest possible way.