A hundred years ago, when I was in high school, a very nice Mormon couple let me ride their horse. They lived in my town, and I rode on their property, up on Bluebird Hill, with my best friend who had a connection to them through her sister. Eventually, my friend stopped going because the horse she was riding (boarded there) was no longer available. But, the family offered me the opportunity to ride their horse whenever I wanted. Whenever I wanted; for free. Most days, after school, I rode my bike up the hill and spent the remaining daylight hours out on area trails with Charco. For a horse-crazy girl, who's family couldn't afford to buy or lease a horse or pay for riding lessons, it was a dream come true.
This past Saturday, the guy who offered to build me a bridge out of our oak tree, in return for the opportunity to mill some of it and take some firewood, came up with his friend and two of his kids. The younger child, a ten year old boy, was in heaven moving logs and driving the tractor. The daughter came along because she is horse crazy. I know exactly how it feels to be a 14 year old horse-crazy girl. She doesn't have a horse, for the same reasons I didn't. She does trade work for lessons at a small barn near her home, an hour and some change down the mountain from us.
While the boys worked on the tree, Bekah and I rode. Did I mention that this family is Mormon? It felt like a wonderful opportunity to pay that gift from my childhood forward. It was incredibly generous of that family, so many years ago, to trust me -- a non-Mormon girl (and the Mormon community was very tight in our town) -- with their horse.
Bekah treated Pistol like a princess. She was groomed thoroughly and ridden with a light hand.
I was in the arena at the same time, on Lucy. I glanced over a few times, out of the corner of my eye, just to make sure they were getting along. Bekah sat tall and balanced, Pistol had her ears riveted on her rider, and they both looked happy. I left them alone, to figure each other out, and play.
I told Bekah that she can come ride Pistol anytime she wants. I understand how that family felt so many years ago. To have a young girl who adores your horse (not just the riding part), and rides with balance and tact, is a gift to the owner too. I mean, how could she not love Pistol?
After working all day, Brett helped her father and his friend load the first piece of milled wood onto the truck with his tractor. All three men had to ride on the tractor to provide enough weight to give the wheels traction. Then they loaded their tools and drove back home.
They will be back in a few weeks to finish the bridge and mill more wood. I hope Bekah will be with them.