I was one of THOSE little girls, you know, the kind that pined for a horse. Never came closer to ownership than riding one of the picture ponies that roamed neighborhoods in the 50's. In my neck of the woods (actually there were no woods but indulge me), they always seemed to arrive when the San Joaquin Valley summer was it's hottest. Word would spread from house to house..."he's coming, the photographers coming". Small, bedecked cowgirls and cowboys would stand in wait for the man and his Shetland. I doubt if many of us really cared about having the photo taken, it was sittin' atop the pony that was so exciting.
When my pony picture surfaces there is no cowgirl outfit. I'm sporting a striped sun suit, white cowboy hat with leather blanket stitching and a buck toothed smile. Annie Oakley had nothing on me. The funny thing about that photo is the little rider looks to be sitting astride a big, tall horse. The photographer must have been laying on the ground to pull that off. And you know, I kind of remember feeling like that horse was ten feet tall.
What I remember most from that day was the look in the eyes of the Shetland, safe and friendly. In the fifty or so years since, that kinship with horses has never left me. I've enjoyed riding every time the opportunity arose. The various horses have been slow and plodding, spunky and sprite, easy, headstrong, nippers and nuzzlers, leaders, followers and independents. Whatever their personality, it is always there, in the eyes. Horses, amazing and humbling animals.
Riding doesn't come up much these days. But just in case the pony photographer drops by, there's a black cowgirl hat edged in red blanket stitches within arms reach of the door. Be sure and let me know if you see him coming. Happy Trails!