My teenage years were rocky. If you knew me, you’re thinking THAT’S the understatement of the century. It is not an exaggeration to say I barely survived. One of the key things that got me through was horses. But not just horses. Kelly’s horses. And Kelly herself.
I lost track of her sometime in 10th or 11th grade and was ecstatic when she finally turned up on facebook after more than 15 years! We met up in Florida last weekend while I was there for, yup, a horse thing.
We visited the horses, goat, pig, and cows, painted nails, collected eggs, found a carpenter bee, rode a pony, and generally just didn’t have nearly enough time to catch up on 15 years.
Kelly – I remember riding my bike the 3.5 miles to the farm (apparently, you reminded me, with my cup of quarters to pay for my lessons). I spent so much time at the farm, my memories run together a bit.
I remember wearing 3 turtlenecks and Carharts to muck stalls in the winter. The wheelbarrow would be so heavy I had to get a running start to get up the ramp to the spreader. Sometimes it was icy and the momentum carried the whole wheelbarrow, and me with it, into the manure spreader.
I remember the first time I jumped a 4′ fence and the first time we rode off the farm and galloped up the edge of a big field.
I remember asking for lunge lessons so I could ride without my stirrups and reins (I still like this).
I remember learning to wrap legs. And clean tack. And reassemble the bridle I had taken apart.
I remember sitting in the aisle watching the farrier.
I remember my least favorite chore of pulling the dirt covered hose out of the arena after I watered it and recoiling it. A close second was cleaning stalls in the upper barn when the geese were in it. They terrified me.
I remember sitting on Rebel bareback while he grazed after I’d finished my work. And when you would bring me chicken nuggets from McDonalds, or even better, when I got to ride in the truck and go along.
I remember when you started dating Ed. He would put my bike in the back of his truck and drive me home when I was there until after dark.
I suppose he was a keeper since you still have him and are raising a wonderful, dirt covered tiny human.
I am so glad to have found you. Without you, Summer, Irish, Liz, Rebel, Harrington, and the rest of the crew, I wouldn’t be a (mostly) functional adult human. You also gave me an amazing foundation for my riding. If you do even 1/2 as good a job with your own tiny human, she’ll be ready for anything.
Also, you fed me. Bacon. I will be back.