On this day, three years ago, I met my best friend.
I had dreamed and done research toward and ached for the day I would meet “it” (at that time of course I didn't know whether “it” would be a mare or a gelding. :))
And then—in that whirlwind way of doing things that God loves so much—I found her. Well, actually my father found her on the internet.
Her name was Freedom. She was a stoutly made, 15 hands, glossy white, Tennessee Walker/Appaloosa Cross. She was only about 25 minutes from our house and one of the pictures showed a girl riding her bareback, with a halter and a toddler in front of her.
Daddy always says that was the photo that sold her. :)
Mommy and I sped to the basement and set to counting the money in my money jar, which (me being the first-rate miser I am) equated to my last six or seven years of saved birthday money and collections of loose change (that I do assure you is a hilarious story in itself!). It was not near enough, but Daddy and Mommy had been plotting toward this day for ages and so they gave the rest of her to me as a gift.
The next day (I think it was the next day, but I can’t quite say as I was in a wee bit of a trembly golden daze) Daddy and Mommy and I packed our horse experienced neighbor-friend and my brother Luke (who, no matter the type of occasion, is always consulted) into the car and went to meet her.
I don’t remember everything about that first meeting, but I do remember being hoisted onto her (she was saddle-less) and the feel of the knotted rope within my weak palms and the warm horse between my knees. And she of course being in her (as I have since learned it to be) siesta on a sunny morning self, moved along with placid good nature—and I knew.
I was so seriously dazed that I can only imagine what my wedding may one day be like!
Freedom not ringing quite right to us—on an inspiration from Tolkien, I renamed her Windfola. Which. Is. Perfect.
The first month was a little exciting for me (a first time horsewoman) as it was a mix of it being Springtime and the fact that she’s…well…a mare, and her not knowing the new boundaries because of my lack of confidence.
So we had to push and prod to figure each other out, or at least I did, because I’m sure in her glossy white head she always has things figured out and she is simply waiting for me to understand them.
We have some differing ideas concerning what is beautiful and fun: i.e.
she is terrified of fireworks and I think they are things of dazzling beauty, but for her sake I get terribly disturbed if anyone sets one off around her.
Sometimes she relishes snatching great bites of grass while riding which I do not think is cute – but she always makes up for it later.
She finds moonlight rides as thrilling and energizing as I do.
I’ve cried over challenges with her—both when they wax difficult and when they are triumphant.
She has been there to comfort me in her calm munching way, both after tragic movies and the deaths of other creatures.
I’ve spent the beginnings of summer nights on my back lying on the corral fence with my legs straddling the rails looking at the stars listening to her gentle munching of hay and thinking of Abraham.
She teaches me patience and courage…and how to simply be quiet and feel.
Remember how earlier I said Windfola was given mostly as a gift from my parents?
In fact, she has been entirely a gift—from them, from those grandparents from whom the birthday money came (thank you Grandpa and Grandma and Pappy and Grammy! :)) and finally and most of all from Him who cares for the least of His creatures and who brought her to me.
Yes, she is one of the best earthly gifts I have ever received and I love her.