When did I first love horses? Not exactly a burning question for anyone other than myself, but every now and then, when I survey the Missouri farm and multiple horses in the pasture, I wonder—How did this happen?
I grew up on Long Island. That’s the skinny island that sort of looks like a fish with Montauk Point at one end and New York City at the other. Montauk Point is home to a lighthouse that was authorized by President George Washington in 1792.
Some of my mom’s ancestors first came to America around 1640. They were ship builders and a few became part of the militia during the Revolutionary War, one became a well-known pastor, and almost everyone stayed on L.I. for generations. They loved boats and the water.
My dad was a city boy who grew up to become an electrician and have six children.
There are no horses in my family history, no cavalry, nothing except for one old farm horse that my brother told me used to live on a family farm. I do not come from a long line of horsemen.
L.I. Is comprised of counties, towns, villages, and hamlets. It’s is the only place I’ve lived that uses the term hamlet. Hamlet: a small settlement, generally one smaller than a village. That’s where I grew up- in a neighborhood in a hamlet, a place not big enough to be a village.
An Invisible Dog
I’m told that when I was a toddler I had an invisible dog on a leash, and we’d trail my mother around the house. I’d get upset when she closed the door before letting my dog come through. I don’t remember, but I believe the story, because dogs are a second place rival to my love for horses.
By the time my sister and I found a horse name Gully in the neighborhood, I was already hooked. And for a while my sister was my ally with horses, until she got her foot stepped on and found boys.
I may have been born with the love of horses instilled in my character. If not, I’ve decided to blame Bubbles and Peanut.
During the summer between kindergarten and first grade my family moved to a new home that my dad built in the hamlet. I don’t remember the move, but I do remember the gas station on Montauk Highway that had pony rides. That’s where I met Bubbles and Peanut. I can still see them in my mind’s eye. I’m sure at some point I was given a ride on one or both ponies, but what I remember most is my mother driving out of her way to avoid going past that gas station. That was not an easy task because the ponies could be seen from the post office where mom had to pick up the mail.
Stopping to see Bubbles and Peanuts was a bigger thrill for me than having my dad pull into Carvel for ice cream on the way home from visiting his boat. Do I even remember what color Bubbles and Peanut were? No, but I know they were beautiful and smelled good. And I must have driven my mother crazy because one day she was instrumental in me getting my own horse, but that’s another story.
If Bubbles and Peanut weren’t to blame, the only other explanation is that my love for horses is a gift from God surpassing the inherited traits and interests of my family. That’s probably the real truth.
I’ve included a song that I love after my post. It’s not about horses or ponies, but it’s about the One who created them. I’d love to know what you think “No Matter What.”
And I sure would love to hear how you came to love horses. Was there a Bubbles or a Peanut in your life?
Barbara Ellin Fox