I remember stories of both my grandma’s and my mom’s childhood. They were always about the freedom, peace, and adrenaline rush of sitting on a horse's back. They could sit on a horse for hours and never get bored. My grandma could live riding all day everyday, me not so much. My favorite story was when my grandparents got stuck on a steep mountain trail with two different aggressive male bison with one sitting behind them and one ready to charge at them. I grew up hearing stories like this. The excitement and happiness they felt was everything to me. I wanted to feel the same way. I wanted to shine with the same happiness my grandma always did after riding. So why didn’t I.
Ever since before I can remember there was at least one horse on the property. Being an impressionable little kid, I wanted to do exactly what my grandparents did. I wanted to ride, and be able to love the feeling of sitting on a horse as much as they did. I was put on a horse the day I was finally able to sit up by myself. Every Saturday since the day I could walk we would go riding. When my memories started to actually stick in my mind I remember the green of trees that were on both sides of us, the heat of the summer air, the taste of the peanut butter sandwiches that were in my horn bag, and the feel of the the saddle under my legs. It was always the same every time we rode. Same food, same trail nothing ever changed.
My grandparents favorite place was Hay Creek. You had to have a pass to ride there and they always did. The creek was my favorite place to cool off. They had trailers, firepits, horse ties, and amazing trails. They had a special connection with the place since the first day they went there, and so did my mom. I just didn’t see why. We have all those things at home. What made this place so amazing and why didn’t I feel it the first time I went there.
Sweaty, sticky, and clammy were the first things I felt when I woke on this seemingly unimportant day. It was summer so the humidity was through the roof, and living on the top floor of an old house that didn’t have air conditioning was not the best thing. I got ready the same way I always did. Find a shirt preferably not pink or purple, a pair of jeans, socks, and I was ready for the day, but why did today feel so repetitive. I don’t think I will ever forget the feeling of those wore out old blue jeans. Being five my routine was the same every morning. After getting dressed I ate pancakes because I loved pancakes and didn’t want anything else. Which was the same as every day of the year. Now I was ready to go to the barn. Same as every day. Same boring old routine.
After I had eaten I went and got on the same old worn out brown cowboy boots. Without even realizing it I asked myself why do I do this. Quickly the thought was thrown out of my head because this was what we did. My family had always had horses. Horses were a part of my mom’s life and a part of both my grandparent's lives since they were my age. We have always been expected to ride. Sitting on a horse was the most fun thing someone in my family could do, yet it wasn’t that fun for me. Disregarding the thoughts of doubt I went about my day.
I remember the sunny blue sky, the trees swaying in the wind, horses neighing at each other, the clinic ringing informing my grandpa he had a call, the shiny trailer sitting in the same place as always, and lastly the birds chirping as they flew through the sky. When I had just thought I had made it out of the house by myself I heard the door slam shut. At that exact moment I knew I was being followed. Being five I wanted to be as independent as I could. That meant I wanted to do things by myself without being watched or having to watch someone else.
Megan, my younger sister, loved to follow me around, but I hated it. What five year old wants a three year old to follow them around, and try to copy everything they did. She always had to come to the barn with me, always had to ride my pony, and always had to try to be exactly like me. Stopping about halfway down the hill I turned to her and told her to go away and leave me alone. I wanted to be the rider in the family, not her. This was my thing, but it never really was. After realizing this is what my family did, and that it was expected of us I marched home told my mom I want something that nobody will love as much as me. Something that was mine and that nobody in my family would never be expected to always do.
Ever since that day I had realized that I never really enjoyed riding. I found it boring and to predictable. I wanted to be different, unique, and special. I wanted to do things that were different, unique, and special, but riding a horse in my family was none of those things. Never did I want to do anything more than to break the mold my family had created, so I quit became what I wanted to be. This day may seem very insignificant to the ordinary person, but to me this day changed the course of who I would be.