I was watching a favorite movie of mine, and it brought back memories of when I was a little girl, so many things about this movie reminded me of myself and the love and passion I have for horses. Some of my all time favorite movies involve stories about horses. Flicka was my movie of choice this time, others are War Horse, Secretariat, Seabiscut, Black Velvet, and Hidalgo. I have them all, and watch them quite often when I have the opportunity. Horses have always been a mainstay in my life. Growing up with a Mother who loved them as well brought me a special insight and respect for one of the most misunderstood animal of our time.
Watching Flicka reminds me of how as a child I use to sneak out early in the morning to go ride a horse my Aunt Bert had on her cattle ranch. I loved visiting my Aunt, and probably felt free and safe there. I would go with my Grandmother as often as I could when she would go to visit her, and loved every minute being there. I was free of the fighting and yelling at my home, and was nurtured by two of my favorite women. Remembering time spent there, is one of the few good memories I have growing up.
At home, constantly dealing with drinking angry adults who always took everything for granite, and seemed to never appreciate the blessings that surrounded them. I did, I tried so hard as a youngster to absorb and appreciate anything that did not bring pain, and only brought simple pleasure. My passion for animals, especially horses seemed to transport me to another place. One that was safe, and loving.
I can remember when I was around 9 or 10, I kept a black cat hidden for months with out my parents knowing about her, feeding her everyday and loved to play with her when I got the chance. We always had dogs, cats, and horses growing up, but they were always my Mother’s animals. I finally had one all to myself, I did not have to share or justify. We had a very large Hedge that stretched about 50 or 60 feet down the side of our house. You could get underneath it like a cave and be concealed from the world. This is where I kept my cat. She had water and food, and the hedge made a great shelter. One day I was out playing with my kitty, and was caught by my mother. She asked me about the cat, wanting to know who’s it was, and why it was on our property. “Never play with stray animals, they can be dangerous.” she said. I explained to her I knew the cat, and she was very friendly. Eventually, admitting I was taking care of her. My mother was not happy. She ordered me to stop feeding her, and leave her be. Rebellious, I refused to obey her and continued to take care of the cat. One day after spending the weekend away with my Grandmother, my kitty was not there, and I never saw her again. I suspected my Mother or Step-Father must have taken her away. I dared not ask.
We had every kind of animal you could imagine when I was young. Even had a pet Skunk named “Ripper” named because of his very sharp needle type teeth. Captured as a small baby, he grew up to be one of the cutest pets I had ever been around. He too, became one of my best friends. He never had to be De-scented, and never sprayed. They had a constant order about them similar to a Farret, I guess being from the same Pole Cat family. We use to have those too. One day while I was playing with Ripper, he accidently bit down on my mouth, and ripped my lip open. It left a scar. My mother freaked out and decided it was time for him to go. He was three years old then, and age had made him a little more aggressive. It was an accident and I know he meant no harm, he was playing with me. I had him in my face, which is a no no. So it was more my fault then his. None the less, my mother and step-father took him to a pet store and he too was gone. One of the things I use to love about him he would hide under the furniture and then when someone sat down on the couch he would be underneath sneak up and nip them on the ankles, not hard, just playful. He would run backwards when he played stamping his feet on the floor and chase you. I miss him.. Oh, and yes, like a cat, he was litter box trained. Never making any mess, and he did not shed much. He was so beautiful. I was the only one who would play with him, and he loved me.
Like all things I loved, they would be taken away.
My Parents also had Thoroughbred Race horses, a filly was born to our mare, and they named her “By A Nose”. They told me she would be mine and I could train her. She was a beautiful Sorrow in color, three stockings and a blaze streaking down her face. As I watch her grow, I had her lead trained and she eventually came to me on command. She loved to play and she would jump and buck all the time when I watched her. Many who saw her made comments about her lines, her long legs, and her strong hind end. She was destined to be a Champion. Then the call came. She along with her mother had been shot and killed. She never made it to be a yearling, and would never see a race track. Some unknown person or persons during the night, decided to use our horses for target practice. A “Drive” by shooting. No regard for life, or respect, some idiot decided to just pull the trigger and shoot. My heart totally broken, I to this day have never gotten over that one.
I made a promise that when ever I grew up and could afford to have horses on my own, I would. And no one would ever hurt them. Eventually, I did.
(continued in next Chapter)