My three-year-old daughter has called our horses by name since she could talk; the only time we haven’t had horses in her lifetime was when she was just a few months old. My point? It’s normal to her for Mommy to have three horses.
Sometimes this fact still catches me a little strangely. I begged my parents for a horse starting from the time I knew what they were. I was 16 before we had the right situation to make that dream a reality. My daughter’s three, and she already has her own pony.
Granted, it’s because of an unexpected turn of events. My husband and I had the opportunity to purchase a former show horse of mine who could no longer perform at the level the lesson barn I had sold her to required. “Ava” is a 14.1-hand glossy-golden buckskin Quarter Horse with a million show miles and a babysitter disposition. She’s always held a special place in our hearts, so when we agreed to give her a forever home, “kid horse” was the natural earmark we attached to the purchase.
But that means … yes, my daughter is a toddler and has her own pony. Huh.
I find myself getting hung up there because horses have always seemed like such a luxury to me. But then I tell myself that we spent minimal money to give an old friend a good home – if Christine gets maximum enjoyment from riding and caring for her and gets a jump on developing qualities like responsibility and empathy at an early age, then so be it … right?
Katy Rogers’ column about introducing horses to our children as the gateway to a community – “a common thread -” resonated with me (and I hope it will with you, too – we’ve included it on page six of our Gift Guide 2016 edition). It gave me extra confidence in acknowledging that horses aren’t simply a luxury – they’re a deeply important part of so many of our lives – and why wouldn’t we introduce our children to that in whatever way we can? Some of us can afford weekly lessons like my parents could; others own enough land to house our own equines. Still others, like Nicole Reynolds, owner of Nicole’s Natural Horses (page four), revive the dream of horse ownership when our children are old enough to pursue it themselves.
No matter your personal horsey situation, I hope you find running powerfully through this edition the concept of the gift of horses – the idea that every day we spend with our treasured equines is one of life’s perks. We’ve included our recommendations for your equestrian holiday lists – a distinctive selection of products from Southeastern retailers that you won’t find in stores. We’ve also got the lowdown on which Southeastern riders dominated at the 50th Annual AQHA Congress – the largest breed show in the world.
Several of our gift guide interviewees were kind enough to donate giveaway items that we’ll be sharing with readers via Facebook during the coming weeks. Enjoy, and happy shopping!