September 12, 2011

The "Horse Gene"

I know there are many of us out there who are the only ones obsessed with horses in our family.  A lucky few have grown up around them with their family, but it seems a lot of us got the horse bug and it never went away.  It makes me wonder where the "horse gene" gene comes from. 

Most little girls are fascinated by horses.  But for some of us, about the time our friends are packing away their "My Little Ponies" we are slipping on our jodphers or chaps.  Its not enough to read books and watch movies, we NEED to be around these animals, to touch, smell and just interact with them.  Even if it is walking around in a circle at the fair.But why, what compels us towards these animals?  As an adult I appreciate the incredible bond and trust that comes from working with such large animals, but was I that wise when I was 7?

For me, no one in my family ever rode horses or ever had the desire.  All I know is that when I was 7  I started to ask for riding lessons.  My mom said sure, but I'd have to give up tap/dance.  I don't remember thinking twice about it.  It was an easy decision for me.  I think my mom thought it might be a little girl phase, but it wasn't.  After 5 years of taking lessons in some lady's back yard my mom gave in and got me legit riding lessons and a horse.

And in all the years of watching me ride and compete the bug only bit my family once or twice.  My mom tried to take lessons when we switched barns, but only lasted a few times and always made me pick the horses feet.  Not because she's a pre-Madonna, I think she is just genuinly afraid of the size of the animal.  My brother rode my new horse once.... the day we got him.  And my dad bravely took a lesson once after we had my first horse for a while... My point is they all tried.... and still didn't get it.  So out of a family with no interest in horses how did I get obsessed? 

I don't remember the first time I ever rode a horse, I've been told it was a pony at a fair.  I was 4, he spooked, I fell off.  Not the best begining.  I do remember my first lesson.  It was on a 19 yr old Paso Fino, I was 7, all we did was walk.  But I got to steer and I was in control.  And I remember feeling so powerful and so free being on top of this huge animal and having it do exactly what I wanted.

And I know there are certain traits I have inherited that steer me towards Dressage, the need to be perftect and always have a clearly defined goal.  But my brother had those same traits and used them to become an Eagle Scout and later compete in rowing.  We have always been an animal freindly family (other than the horse we always had cats) but never an animal obsessed.... so what's my deal? our deal?

I don't really have an answer, I just find it facinating that so many of us come from families with no horse history.  And so many of us are deeply devoted and intrenched in the horse world.... so where does it come from??

1 comment:

  1. I know this this was written months ago but I felt compelled to comment. Being a city girl and no one in my family really being into horses it always seemed odd to me and my parents that I was and now being 27 going on 28 I've just recently taken my first 2 lessons and while I can get frustrated I can't help but feel how I felt back when I was 5 or 8 it's like the child in me is cheering and it's the most amazing feeling.

    I wasn't lucky enough to convince my parents to get me riding lessons but I somehow convinced my husband and I hope he knows I'll eventually have my own horse or at least share board one at some point. I still to this day don't know where it comes from but horses have always been my favorite animal even having never been around them. Nice to know I'm not the only one.