Tuesday, August 26, 2008
When I was a little girl I was, like many little girls, horse crazy. I started riding when I was about six and within a year had convinced my parents I had to have my own horse. During the school year, I rode in the afternoon and on weekends and in the summer I spent a good deal of my time on horseback exploring the fields, pastures and woods in north Florida where I grew up. There was a large pond (or at least it seemed large to me) on the edge of a pasture at the barn where I boarded my horse. After a ride on hot summer afternoons, I would strip off my horse's tack (and my own shoes and socks) and ride bareback with just a halter and rope into the pond. As we moved out to the center of the pond where the water was deepest, I would float like a leaf off my horse's back, holding on to his mane and the halter rope. His legs would begin to churn beneath me and the cool water from the bottom of the pond would rise up and envelop me. It was the most perfect sense of freedom I have ever known.