First Loves

[Previous Rural Farmgirl, April 2009 – May 2010]
They can reveal so much about us—not only to others, but to ourselves. The first time that our eyes met, I knew I was a goner. His big brown eyes, blonde hair and bad boy behavior had me. He spoke to my inner wild child, and I knew that if I stepped into this relationship I would spend the rest of my life captive to it. Yet I also knew that there was no holding back, and it was a leap I was all too willing to take.
There isn’t a farmgirl I have talked to who doesn’t have a similar story.

I have come to believe that it is how we know we are truly farmgirls. No matter if we are born in the city or suburb or farm, it is that magic moment when we fall deeply in love with our first horse.
To this day horses still captivate me. Even when broke, they are never quite tamed. I like that, and I can relate to it. Oftentimes I feel “harnessed” by the world, or by life, or by social expectations. Yet there is that place in me that remains, untamed.
Songs have been sung and poems written about horses’ beauty and their ability to sustain. They are cowboys’ best friends and farmers’ most dependable workers. They are cowgirls’ confidants, holding onto every dream and secret. They are a mixture of freedom, strength, speed, and calmness, all while somehow bringing us into balance with the rest of nature. There is nothing better to a young girl then climbing onto the back of one and running…wind blowing through her hair and the sun allowing the cares of the world to melt away. For just a moment, we all dream of running with the wild horses.
Around our community lie the Horse Heaven Hills and it has been said that wild mustangs used to run the land. I love to sit out on the vista and dream that they are still there. I love the drive over Satus Pass, hoping for a view of them. And on the rare occasion that I do see them, it is magical—even spiritual—to sit and watch them.
Yes, first loves tell a lot about us. One glance in his eyes, and I knew I was a farmgirl—one that wasn’t likely to be tamed, longing to forever run with the wild horses.

  1. Charlotte Mordaunt says:

    What a great entry… daughter is 8 and just started riding. I thought I was going to the farm for her and I found myself falling in love with the horses almost more than she has! There is definately something special there….a kind of peace to the rhythm of life.

  2. Flower says:

    At five years old, I convinced my parents to let me ride a horse, while at an uncle’s farm. I was ever changed and knew that a farm,the country, a garden, horses, chickens, goats, cats and dogs were in my future! Our horses are gone now, of old age, but they remain a highlight to my life!

  3. Catherine Strickler says:

    My first love, or my first horse – My first love was named Billy and he was the tall boy (at least I thought so at age 6) and in 8th grade – I was in 1st. He was the oldest at our little country school on my father’s ranch and I was one of the youngest – along with his sister, Rosa Bell. They rode horses to school and I admired him greatly as he was always rescueing us from some misadventure during recess. I am sure he never knew of my crush, but it filled my daydreams brimming full during weekends and vacations.

    My first horse was tall (he really was a Thoroughbred) and a red sorrel with one white hind foot and a star in his forehead. Fox had been my father’s horse, and then my mother’s and then mine. He guided me through my first rodeo performance, many roundups, a few budding romances, hot days of searching for favorite fishing or swimming holes and many times down at the shop for a shoeing job. I can still smell the warm horsey fragrance of his neck and feel the softness of his nose as we nuzzled each other. He was patient while I grew until I could get a foot in the stirrup without a stump or corral rail to stand on. I will always remember how he pranced after a good tail pulling session and can still feel his stride as we rode the dusty trails of our Wyoming home.

  4. Gary says:

    Excellent Bloggie Rene"…!
    My Mom and Pop got me a Shetland pony, "Buckshot", when I was 5 years old, and built him a tiny barn in our field. They always made sure I had Critters in my Life, and for that effort, I am eternally Grateful.
    Our relationships with Critters hold a Special place in our Heart… a place where even Family can seldom go… it is the Domain of God himself… Unconditional Love.
    GodSpeed to Y’all…!
    in Tampa

  5. Heather Scholten (Pickles) says:

    Oh my gosh Rene’!! It’s like you were reiterating my love story to the letter. My first horsey love was Chief. From the moment I saw him, I knew I had to have him. We had an amazing connection with each other. I miss him dearly! Thanks for your post!


  6. Carol says:

    I got a pony when I was 4 years old. His name was "Beanie". My dad bought him for me and to bring him home my dad walked in front of him leading all the way home 4 miles with me riding him………. I was in little girls heaven. I loved my dad for moments like that. Thanks, for bringing back the memories.
    Glenwood, IA

  7. Merry says:

    I too have a love affair with horses. First my mare, and then when she gave birth to a beautiful filly, I was totally smitten. She’s 4 years old now, and there’s nothing better than a kiss & a hug from my Lillianna! They soothe the weary soul & renew the spirit!

  8. Mary Helen Rappole says:

    I remember so clearly when my Dad put side stakes on the borrowed pick-up truck and drove thru the night, to purchase my horse, when this 10 year old girl awoke the next morning, there was "Silver", saddle, bridle, blanket all for $75. Silver was white, big Roman nose, brown ears, 20+years, but oh how I loved him. I could lay in the manger and he would eat hay around me!

  9. carol branum says:

    hi rene, my first horse was named princess,it was a blond palimino,how i loved her…have a great day,ive been working a lot havent got to read you blog for weeks, going trough withdrawal ha, carol branum


    Thanks Carol.. Love those Palimino’s…. Love them!

  10. DiAnna says:

    As a young girl my dream was to own a horse. When my family moved to my Mother’s home area of rural MN my sister and I started saving for our first horse. Our stepfather worked construction and saved his change for us each week. I remember the coin holders similar to the coin folders that collectors use. It was in the shape of an owl for wise savers. We filled those folders with dimes each week and dreamed of our horse. One day we found a horse for sale for $100. She was a paint/quarter horse named Gypsy. The problem was we only had $90 so my stepfather gave us the other $10 (in reality he supplied all the money with all his change each week.) We did not own a saddle so we learned to ride bare back. The problem was we were small and she was large. We would stand on a 55 gallon barrel to mount her. One day Gypsy had a baby filly that we named Tonka. My little sister became the owner of Tonka and became a prize winning rider. She broke Tonka on her own while Tonka broke her foot twice due to the fact we never wore shoes in the summer. These are wonderful memories where all the kids in the neighborhood (five mile radius) would get together, pack a lunch and ride horse all day. Our parents never knew where we were all day but no one ever worried about kids being harmed. My sister is gone now but the memories of all the fun we had because of a $100 horse are still there.

  11. I too am in love with horses. Have not had one to call my own yet but I will not give up hope for a big four-legged best friend.~ ~Ahrisha~ ~

  12. Bette in Plant City, FL says:

    Rene’—-you are a fantastic writer! When I first started reading your story I thought of my yearling, Jo-Jo Thunder, then my "it’s complicated" boyfriend….I figure I’ve got my priorities straight!
    I work to feed my three babies (angels in fur coats) & myself but would never consider that a burden. There’s no equal to wrapping your arms around their sinewy, sleek neck, tangling your fingers in a silky mane, feeling the warmth of their flesh and that soft, wet nuzzle on the back of your neck that sends tingles racing up and down…and then the nickering….just heard them now….must be that sacred connection & carrot time…gotta go. They hold my heart and, yes Gary in Tampa, I resonate with your thoughts that God gave them to me/us to teach His unconditional love. XO

  13. connie bergstrom says:

    I remember bringing home my first love from Kooskia, Idaho,it seemed like the longest drive back home to Moscow to get her home! My neck still hurts from turning around to make sure she was still in the back of the truck on that dark rainy night. Sheba turned into my best friend and raised me up all the way out of high school before she finally passed on tho that big cloverfield in the sky. to this day even 15 years after shes been gone I miss her tons.

  14. Lawyer says:

    Nice article.
    Barb Scott

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