A horse ride down memory lane

We couldn’t have crammed more into this week if we added another day. I’m writing this under the covers after spending an hour and a half trying to convince my almost 7 year old to calm down and try to sleep, which is an impossible plea, because her very first sleepover birthday party is tomorrow. We’ve been planning it for a month. We’ve been counting down. We decorated. She’s checked my plans twice and then again, and, just when I thought she might have finally drifted off, one more time, just to be sure. I finally escaped when she stopped wiggling for good, tip-toes upstairs to wrap her presents and then collapsed.

Early this week I took a quick trip across the state to talk and sing and share my children’s book with some adorable elementary school kids. I got home just in time to gather a plan and get lunch ready for shipping day on Tuesday. I decided to keep the girls home and take them to the sale barn and I will tell you more about that later but it was a great day, despite the snow and the cold.

The next day we preg-checked and it either snowed or blowed or snowed and blowed the entire time, which brought us into today. Today I was supposed to visit a couple more towns on behalf of Prairie Princess, but because winter decided to show up early and never leave I had to reschedule it for the second time in a week! And somewhere in there my husband is supposed to be working on a deck.

Tonight at supper between hanging streamers and reheating leftovers we wondered why we have to fit all our life into one week. But then we realized it’s like this pretty much every week. It’s the season of our lives. We’re lucky. And exhausted.

Here’s this week’s column, late, nostalgic and a bit awkward, just like me.

Love you all!

A horse ride down memory lane

I would like to take a trip down memory lane because I stumbled upon a little gem of a piece of writing I crafted when I was a kid. I did plenty of writing as a kid. I have books of embarrassing poetry and stories, most never to see the light of day, but sometimes we were given writing assignments in school … and, well … I guess I just couldn’t hold back the emotion and theatrics housed in my little mind and I saw it as my time to expose my soul to the world.

In third grade.

So my gift to you, straight out of the archives, an early piece on the subject of friendship and love and animal whispering, all lessons learned from a beautiful, overweight and elderly mare who I loved dearly.

Get your tissues and be prepared to be moved beyond words.

What happens when the family tries to fit an entire life into one week? Jessie finds herself alone in her basement talking to you about memories of an old horse because despite her attempts, she couldn’t bring herself to wake up her exhausted husband to visit. Listen here or on Spotify or Apple Podcasts

Rindey and Me

By third grade Jessie Veeder (complete with spelling errors, including Rindy)

It all started when we moved out to the farm to help my grandma because my grandpa died and we had to keep the farm going. My dad was talking about a horse for me. He thought about Dell, my grandma’s horse but I said that I didn’t want that horse because it was grandma’s. Then my only choise was my grandpa’s horse because I had been riding her for a while and I liked her

That was a while ago and now I know everything about her. She knows how I’m feeling and I know how she’s feeling. If we are out working the cattle and I am scared I can see her eyes and feel her shaking beneath me. When I am happy we play games out in the pasture, or I just sit and talk to her. When she feels love she likes to hug and nudge. She always hates it when I leave. 

We have had so many experiences together. Like the day she first ran poles. She did great. I never dreamed she could do that good, and to top it all it was her first time ever. I know why she did so good now, I had been talking to her about it for a while and she new what I was talking about. 

When I am bored or have had a bad day, all I have to do is go and catch her, find a rock to boost me on and we run like the wind. She loves to run. I cling to her like a burr until she slows down to a trot. Then I put her back and I just talk to her about what’s going to happen and when our next event is going to be and how we have to get ready for it. I write about her all the time, but just in phrases. This is the first time I have ever wrote about all my feelings towards her, and when she dies I know I will see her in heaven. And if we sell her I will go to my room and cry and cry. She is a part of me. She compleats me.  

Before I go any further I would like to point out that apparently it was me who coined the phrase “you complete me.” Take that Jerry Maguire. Moving on. Oh, the drama!

Reading this again as a grown woman with young daughters, I see where some of the extravagance of this story was likely taken from the horse movies and books I loved back then (“Wild Hearts Can’t be Broken” anyone?).

I can guarantee that old mare didn’t necessarily love to run like the wind, unless she was certain we were on our way back to the barn for grain. And we had a bond, but my nervousness out working cattle was based on whether or not I was going to accidentally let the wrong ones through the gate I was watching. Her nervousness was more likely a fit she was pitching because she was separated from the other horses. But that sounds less dramatic than “I can feel her shaking beneath me.”

Oh Martha.

Also, it appears that third grade is where I developed the art of preparing for the worst case scenario as in my love letter to my horse I was also anticipating her imminent death. And I might have been the first horse whisperer to write about my successful experiences training the four legged beast to perform on command at such great speeds by, you know, talking it over with her.

What a sweet reminder of who we are before the world tells us to hold back a bit as I’m watching my daughters try to make sense of the world and their feelings and the people and things that they love.

In the times I find that I, too, am still searching, I’ve found it comforting to remember the 10-year-old version of me in her purple pants, fuzzy ponytail and trusty mare. And then sometimes, when I’m not paying attention I might see my reflection, my hair a wreck, my jeans dirty, my skin kissed by the weather with my hands and mind busy with work or play and it makes me realize that she’s still in there. And I’m glad.

Because I sorta liked her.

3 thoughts on “A horse ride down memory lane

  1. What fun!! And what a good lookin hunk of horse flesh!!
    Little girls and horses are as legendary as all the cowboys you’ve ever known!!
    They just look better!! 🙂

  2. You lived the dream of many a young girl. I got my first horse at age 30; my dream horse (now gone) several years later, and I swear, he knew me, too. I was blessed,

  3. The foreshadowing of your amazing narratives (that are so beloved) is right there, in the tale by your third-grade self. It showcases something of which we should all be mindful, when relating to those who are the future of our world. Thank you for this lovely peak into childhood thought.

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