All of my childhood, I remember wanting a horse more than anything in the world. It was a longing so intense I could taste it. At the local and state fairs, all I wanted was to ride those ponies that do nothing but go round and round in a circle. The smell of them, and the squeak of the leather saddles, was heaven.
My Uncle Leo had work horses, far back in my memory. I loved them.
When we lived in Iowa, Ted Davies (a man my dad helped out on his farm) had riding horses.
My mom was wallpapering Ted and Lucille's house one day, and I was outside playing with their kids.
"Can we ride a horse?" I asked.
Next thing I knew, those two urchins had a horse bridled and saddled, and the three of us rode up the half-mile-long driveway (all on one horse), and onto the gravel road. I was behind the saddle, ecstatic, when I felt myself slipping; I told the kids I was about to fall, but they seemed not to hear. About the same time I made contact with the gravel, my mom, from the house, yelled at the top of her lungs for me to "stay off that horse"!
My parents were telephone operators in a small, north Missouri town, when I saw, in the Montgomery Ward Christmas catalogue, a Shetland pony colt . I don't recall the price, but at the time it didn't sound like much to me. Of course, we had no place to keep a pony, but I thought our yard was plenty big. I cried myself to sleep many a night after Mama told me there was no possibility of Santa bringing me a spotted Shetland like the one in the "wish book".
Later, when Daddy was a hired hand at Glenn Wyant's farm outside Eagleville, Glenn had a lovely paint gelding that he sometimes rode out to our house. One day he allowed me on the horse, and explained neck-reining to me, and showed me how the horse would turn if I simply pressed a leg against him. The horse's name, I believe, was Sparky.
The following summer I often sneaked out to the pasture that bordered the section of land we lived on, taking handfuls of sugar for Sparky to lick (I'd read that horses liked sugar cubes, and having no cubes, I had to settle for granulated). I was getting well acquainted with that horse; I actually somehow got myself up onto his back one day when Glenn's wife spotted me, and hollered from a distance for me to get away from him.
It seemed like fate was conspiring against me ever getting to ride a horse.
I couldn't imagine ever being happy without a pony.
In my whole life, I've never wanted anything that badly.
So nowadays, when I'm grooming or riding Blue, I remind myself that indeed, childhood dreams do come true.
And when I kiss my filly, Libby, on that soft, velvety part of her nose, I know God does hear the prayers of children. Sometimes He just waits until the time is right to answer them.