Stacey Kimmel-Smith shared with us her story of how her love of horses came to be, and how it has grown over the years.
Horses have always been inside my head. My strongest early “horse memory” – probably at age four or five – is reading the book Casey the Clumsy Colt. It was a horsey take on the bull in the china shop, and I read it over and over. At the time my parents rented a farm, but there were no horses, only cattle and cats. Later we moved to the suburbs.
Still, the obsession continued. I wrote poetry about horses. I read the Marguerite Henry and Walter Farley books (all of them!). I watched The Red Pony, National Velvet, and My Friend Flicka. I jumped the bushes around our house over and over, at a gallop. It was a little embarrassing to my family I think, and it was exasperating to friends who managed to put up with it. I was totally fixated. With no real outlet for my horsey phase, it was excruciating. I do think it helped me to develop a vivid imagination. I dreamed, dreamed, dreamed of them.
At around ten years old, I finally got riding lessons – and far from getting it out of my system, it fanned the flames of a lifetime passion.
And here I am at fifty-one, still gaga over horses. How can an obsession last so long, and how can something be equally satisfying and wonderful at middle age as it was as in childhood? I still get positively giddy as I pull into the barn driveway. What sort of love lasts that long?
I wish I knew the answer! I have a lot of theories, but mostly I’m mystified. In the play Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe, Lily Tomlin (Trudy) concludes that we need to stop figuring out the meaning of life and just appreciate its mystery. I guess that’s how I feel about horses. I can’t explain my feelings about horses – not how they started or why they persist. I can only be grateful that they are in my life, and embrace the joy that horses bring me every single day. That’s quite enough for me.