Monday, May 12, 2008

What a gift!

I just wanted to share one of my greatest blessings in life with you guys. This sweet boy came into my life when I was 13 years old, and although I was not terribly interested in looking for him, we fell in love within hours. He's always been a great listener, although he never has much to say back ;) Let me introduce you to this love...

I started riding when I was 9 years old. I can specifically remember the birthday party with my family when I was given gift certificates for riding lessons. I was elated! I had wanted to start riding for a while, and since we had moved to Maryland, it was much more possible.
I took riding lessons at one facility until I was 10 or so, I guess? It was a very large barn, and the lessons only involved riding - all the horses were groomed and tacked and ready to go when we got there. Mom and Dad wanted me to learn the importance of caring for a horse along with riding, and a little more about the work involved, so I moved facilities somewhere around 10 or 11.
At this new facility, when I arrived for my lessons, I was responsible (with the assistance and supervision of my instructor) for the grooming and tacking of the horse I would be riding for the day. This all had to be done before my lesson time started. Shortly after starting at this facility, I was given the opportunity to lease the horse I was riding for lessons. "Happy Appy" was his name - and I thought he was the most beautiful horse I'd ever seen. Recently, I saw some pictures of him, and he definitely was NOT. But...I thought he was beautiful nonetheless. I had him for about a year and a half, and then my riding abilities began to outgrow his "exercising" abilities. I was absolutely heartbroken the day that my instructor told me it was time to start looking for another horse.
A few weeks later, my parents, my instructor and I drove out to a farm about an hour away, and about an hour later, I fell in love. We walked out into the field, and I saw a beautiful black (in my mind) thoroughbred in tall grass with yellow flowers. I walked him all over the field, brushed him, and followed him around as he wandered the field as well. A few days later, he came to my barn for a 2 week trial. He was a dream to ride, and very well behaved. 2 weeks later, during a lunch at Golden Corral, my parents presented me with a copy of his registration papers, with my name listed as the owner! I was beside myself.
Since then, I have continued to fall in love with this boy. We have had wonderful times together, when we ride for hours on end, day after day. We've also had times where I barely get to even see him, but it is always one of the most refreshing things in my life, when I walk into the barn, smell that wonderful barn smell, and see him point his ears towards me.
The gift my parents gave me that day at Golden Corral has been one of the best in my life, and I could never show them how grateful I am for him. Not just for the enjoyment factor, but for what having him as taught me as well. Caring for him, planning for the purchases that need to be made for him, and scheduling time to see him has taught me responsibility and priorities. Working with him on a day that he is being a pill has taught me perseverance and patience. Enjoying him, spending time on the trails, and doing jumping combinations has taught me how to relax and enjoy my blessings.
This boy has been an amazing gift to me, and will continue to be, I'm sure - for a long time to come.
Mom and Dad, thank you for letting me have this gift, for sacrificing much for me to have him.
Danny, thank you for working so hard to make it so that I can keep enjoying him.

I love this boy. I've ridden many other horses, but I can't imagine that any other will ever come close to the bond I have with this boy of mine.
Thank you Lord, for this gift.