Elation. Terror. Anticipation?
This sentiment has been flying through my head regularly since last Saturday, when atop a hefty red roan gelding named Tucker, I decided I’d found my, “Dream Horse.” For clarification, though a good boy, Tucker was not it.
Perhaps that isn’t exactly where my story really starts? Perhaps it starts like nearly every little girl’s? Some magical four-legged creature trots into her eyes for the first time, and that is it. She (and honestly, I’d bet boy too) wants a horse. The idea of barreling atop a giant furry dog-like animal, through a hayfield, trying to catch the setting sun is more than alluring. The idea is pure, honest, freedom.
That said, I personally cannot remember the exact moment I saw my first a horse? However, I have a pretty good guess. Growing up, one thing I would say defines my father is the fact that he loved John Wayne, Walker Texas Ranger, and Westerns. While the term “fanboying” hadn’t been coined yet, the fact that my dad was known for is brown felt cowboy hat, cowboy boots, and dawns a bright red beard to this day (it’s just gray now) might mean cosplayed every day. My introduction to all things equine, whether he knows it or not, likely comes from him.
Growing up on films and TV shows like, She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, The Alamo, Wyatt Erp, Zorro, and of course McLintock!, These became my to first impressions of what the bond between a rider and his, “trusty steed” should look like. The best protagonists were always accompanied by a horse. To this day, nothing makes me feel more like a hero than dawning my favorite straw hat, a worthy pair of boots, and swinging a leg over into the saddle. That feeling is honestly hard to put into words, but I hope I never lose that sense of adventure.
Truth be told, adventure seeking lives within nearly every person I call friend. Growing up in the rolling hills of Appalachia seems to cultivate individuals predisposed to explore. Couple that with the fact that many of the places to ride in West Virginia resemble the vast landscapes of the Shire, Lothlorian, or Rivendell, (lands brought to life in Peter Jackson’s The Lord of Rings film trilogies), and it becomes a little easier to understand why climbing into the saddle might make me want to scream, “I’m going on an adventure!”
The nerd flag is about to go full-mast now, but here’s the thing, it’s no secret the world can be an ugly place. Age and experience will eventually rob us all of our innocence. Over time, everyone needs an escape if they ever wish to retain their sanity.
With every passing year I find one scene in The Lord of the Rings to be both more true, and more inspirational. The scene occurs between two very unlikely hero’s – Samwise Gamgee and Mr. Frodo Baggins. The pair are stranded amidst the ruins of what was once a glorious city. Their future looks bleak as the world is literally crumbling around them.
“I can’t do this, Sam,” Frodo cries to his friend.
"I know... It's all wrong,” agrees Sam. “By rights we shouldn't even be here,” he continues. “But we are... It's like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger they were, and sometimes you didn't want to know the ending, because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it's only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come and when the sun shines it'll shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you, that meant something, even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand... I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back only the didn't. They kept going, because they were holding onto something...”
“What are we holding onto, Sam?” Frodo asks of his friend. What possible answer could Sam give that would make another step worth taking?
Then, just like that, Sam offers up his revelation as though it is the simplest of things by telling his friend, “That there's some good in this world, Mr. Frodo... And it's worth fighting for.”
Yes, I happen to believe that sentiment. Though seemingly unrelated, I find horses might just serve as the “good in this world” many are looking for. The bond between a horse and rider is pure. There is no place for lies, deceit, or a lack of truth. That bond literally cannot happen without the presence of good and honest intentions. Thus, perhaps the reason I, like so many others, am drawn to horses, is because they provide a much-needed escape. Every day a horseman spends with their horse is a reminder “That there’s some good in this world.”
My name is Chelsey.
Generator's Cuevo Gold, or as he's known around this barn, "Jean-Luc Ponycard", was foaled in 2004 from Generator's Hurricane & Cheyenne's Little Bit.