My love of horses has always spanned year-long, but in childhood, summertime was a special season—filled with Monday morning trail rides and Saturday afternoon shows.
I can still smell the honeysuckle, mingled with horse sweat and fly spray. Hear the twittering birds in the treetops above the trail. See the stirring dust as I cantered ‘round a powder-soft arena, spine straight, heels down.
My friends and I, we had our favorite horseback places—the wash-outs (now filled with paved roads and rows of identical houses). The large, empty pasture on our block with its abandoned well and winding creek (also a neighborhood now). If we rode a little further and crossed the Arkansas, a bounty of sandy trails awaited.
Weekends consisted of 4-H shows, playdays, and the occasional parade. New friends were made, riding skills improved. And priceless memories were forever pressed into the folds of time.
But even trotting laps around a tiny pasture was a well-spent evening for two freckle-faced girls and their trusty mares. Followed by suds and water, and brushing those coats until they gleamed.
Popsicles, sprinklers, and summertime horses. An endless youth stretched before us.
Back then, I was simply in love with horses. Young horses, old horses, red horses, blue (roan) horses. Each had potential. And all were beautiful in my eyes.
As the years passed, that love never waned, but those ribbons were sure enticing. A new desire took root, and nothing became more thrilling than three barrels and a race against the clock. Training and exercise sessions took precedence over lazy jaunts along a trail. Every ride had a purpose. Every interaction, a goal.
Hard work paid off. Buckles and saddles were won. My horse and I were a team. Those were happy times, too.
But desire is fleeting. Love is not. Life changed. Children came. Fate intervened. Or maybe it was just my choices. I chose to give up competition.
So here I am, some thirty years after first falling for a sweet, sorrel mare. The saddles are gathering dust in the barn, the trailer rusting in the shed. But three summertime horses still graze in a green pasture, with honeysuckle and dandelions wafting in the air.
Throughout each season of life, those summertime horses have remained. And they’ll remain in the seasons to come. I have no goals other than to make them happy, to care for them as best I can.
Occasionally, I’ll saddle up just to remember what it feels like to sit on a horse. To follow a shady path through the woods. Or wade through a field of wildflowers.
Just like riding a bike, one never forgets…
Even when my winter comes—when I’m old and gray—my summertime horses will be a fixture, whether in my life or perhaps, only in my mind. They’ll canter across the pasture, bellies round, hearts full.
My summertime horses are here to stay.
About the Author
Casie Bazay is a freelance and young adult writer, as well as an owner/barefoot trimmer and certified equine acupressure practitioner. She hosts the blog, The Naturally Healthy Horse, where she regularly shares information on barefoot, equine nutrition, and holistic horse health. Once an avid barrel racer, Casie now enjoys just giving back to the horses who have given her so much. Follow Casie at www.casiebazay.com.