Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Little Girls and Horses

What is it about little girls and horses? I had a meeting today with a good friend of mine who spends every spare moment of her time just as she has since she was old enough to walk.... with her horse. Oh, the horses have changed over the years, with names such as Wookie and Dixie Dan, Mr. Mischief and Drumbuie. But, her devotion to each and every one that has cantered through her life has remained complete. They are pictured on her Christmas cards, she is most comfortable with a riding helmet on her head, and her cell phone rings with a whinny. The current love of her life is Walter, a magnificent Hanoverian bay with a white blaze down his noble face and a flowing black mane. He looks for all the world as though he trotted straight off of a Ralph Lauren ad in an October issue of British Vogue. I’ve gone to see her ride at dressage clinics and been transported by the evocative smells of fresh air and horses, sweet hay and polished leather back to my own time as a horse crazy little girl. I do understand the attraction. Growing up, while my other little friends were busy with ballet lessons, I was at riding lessons. I adored my time spent in the saddle. My passion for horses remained, but my devotion to riding became too difficult to maintain so it was placed aside for other more ardent passions and pursuits. My loss, no doubt.

It is such a exceptional thing when one’s childhood passions follow one throughout life. My husband knew what he wanted to do with his whole life from that one visceral moment on a Sunday evening when he was a child and saw The Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show for the very first time. No questions, no doubts. It would be music for him. He has been a songwriter and musician his entire life. Such a remarkable, happy achievement. At reunions, I see the wistful looks of the people with whom he grew up when they find out he has been successful in realizing his childhood dreams. I know it’s a rare and precious thing to be allowed to do what you love every day of your life, to truly live out your dreams. It just doesn’t happen that frequently. Dreams must be tended and sometimes sacrifices must be made to tend them well.
I have such admiration for both my friend, and my husband, for they have indeed tended their dreams so well throughout their lives.
Little girls and horses, little boys and guitars.
For some, some things thankfully never change.

The above etching is by Louis Icart and is aptly entitled “Youth”.
It hangs in my home as a happy reminder of one of my own youthful passions.