Each and every day and usually more than once, I drive past a lovely Equestrian Center very close to my home. It’s a beautiful place where horses of all breeds are boarded, competitions are held, lessons are taught, trail rides are given, and magic happens. Only recently, I found this out.
On any given day, behind white split-rail fencing in flat, muddy fields I’ll see Mares munching on bales of hay, Stallions kept at bay, Geldings trotting close enough to take a look, and if I’m very, very lucky, a Mama nursing her baby foal on spindly legs or a dewy colt barely born.
This past summer on a still afternoon, my husband and I pulled into the dusty parking lot of the above with our little grand-daughter who squealed with delight. Clouds of brown welcomed our car with poofs of air the color of smoke. A wooden porch of sun-bleached planks greeted us before we checked in. Sitting on the plain pine bench, I almost expected a prickly tumbleweed to roll by!
The smell of open barns drifted my way, drawing me in. My grand-daughter’s small of hand clasped my own, looking up to me. Her eyes of saucer blue together with a smile that melts my heart-so-much stopped me in my tracks. We went on to visit countless stalls of fresh cream-colored straw, most with horses living in them. Others were out, taking a break. Everything was ‘new’ to her, a story waiting, words to say, magic happening…..
Wafting through the first barn was the musty scent of sweaty horse hair together with manure from a nearby field of weeds. Click-Click…sounds of fancy cowboy boots tapping on the pitted cement floor while silver spurs passed right in front of us! So close we could almost touch them! Shiny silver with sparkling jewels together with little stars twinkling from them! On the wall to the left, a long row of black helmets hung from dark brass hooks. “But, why…,” she asked. Always a question, forever an answer. “To keep you safe,” I explained.
“I want to see the horses, Grandpa,” our grand-daughter exclaimed, jumping up and down! My husband lifted her with both hands, propping her up on his shoulders to get a better view over the fence-line. Gorgeous, smooth, soft-to-the-touch heads in solids and spots sprung from their lunch breaks to check us out. Pointed ears in brown, black or tan tapered just so, in curiosity. Long, wiry hair of swishing tails swinging back and forth. Sooo pretty!
Thinking it might be time to go, we moved towards the car. “Where are the ponies,” came tiny words from little, ‘Moppet Head.’ My husband and I held her hands to walk several blocks to the last and final barn. Home to all of the ponies. There she hung on the rail, eye-level to ‘horses’ more her size. She whispered close to their ears, named each and every one and visited their stalls, before blowing imaginary kisses to say, “Good-Bye.”
After all my time in living here, it took the innocence of a child for me to truly see the magic in a place I’ve barely glimpsed before. How much MORE of life is there to live, if only I could look through the lens of a child?