The first horse I ever loved was named Fawn. She was also the first horse I ever rode, on a trail ride in Wisconsin where I was visiting a friend’s family when I was about nine. I fell in love instantly, and when I got back home I tried to convince my parents that I had to have that horse. I neglected to realize what it would mean for my parents to rent a truck and trailer, drive 8 hours each way and then find a way to board and feed the horse. All I knew was that I wanted her as my best friend. I pictured us riding around the neighborhood, passing out candy canes at Christmas. Needless to say, my parents rightly said no. :-)
That started my lifelong love of horses, although I didn’t ride very often and never owned one. I was able to spend time with horses here and there, including two beautiful Belgians who were used to pull some downed trees out of the forest on my property, and two Arabians who stayed with us when a friend was evacuated during a fire. The most notable time was when I was in a pasture in Big Timber with a bunch of young horses bred from the Hollywood Gold line (a famous cutting horse if I remember correctly). They were all unbroken but very used to being around humans and they were simply magical. Gentle, well-loved and stunningly beautiful to look at. Oh! I went right back to my nine-year-old self who wanted to have a horse! Then I took a horse care class and found out what it really takes to have a horse and take good care of it. I decided I’d rather look at them than own them. So volunteering here has really been ideal for me. I can learn about horses, be around them and help out, which is what I want to do.
This week was more spring prep work, getting hoses fixed, more plants in the ground, starting sunflowers in the greenhouse, and one exciting episode of catching these three who wandered into the big pasture. They were out of their pen munching dandelions (and they were serious about it!) and after a while they ended up pretty far from their pen. So we went out to catch them and one of the regular pasture horses got a bit frisky. I guess he didn’t want us messing with his new pals. :-) We eventually got the three back into the dry lot and into their regular pen.
The other cool thing that happened was that I got my first pair of real cowgirl boots, leftovers in the barn that no one was using. If I do end up taking riding lessons, they’ll be perfect! Speaking of the barn, this coming Friday the 21st and Saturday the 22nd is the first monthly barn sale of the summer. Head over and check out the bargains! The sale runs from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at 208 Rusty Spur Way in Corvallis.
Laura Weise is a Wings volunteer who lives in Stevensville and will be bringing you stories of life at the barn.