|Posted on May 16, 2011 at 10:17 AM|
He was an odd dun, a glowing chestnut hide with a brown and white streaked mane and tail. A bald face, four white stockings and red flaring nostrils.
We went everywhere he and I when I was a child. We played cowboys and indians on both sides. We won the Kentucky Derby and the Triple Crown. We showed, danced to dressage, jumped and paused at saloon’s for a chocolate milk. A scruffy mutt named Rex was by our side.
Eventually I got too big for old Champ. The mustang would spend long hours, abandoned on his bouncy springs in the basement. Then I discovered he could be removed from the springs. He moved outside to play and then into my room. At this point, we went on adventures like Indiana Jones and he played cart horse, hauling my homework up the mountain of stairs to my room.
Most people outgrow their rocking horse. They outgrow horses in general and move on in life. But for some of us the rocking horse leads to something more: a lifelong love of horses. The joyous inspirational memory of gallops on Champion faded some when I discovered the joy of riding a real horse.
Now I’m at a time and place where the real horses are out of reach. Hopefully it’s not permanent. But I find Champion still there. He sits in the closet holding an english saddle that sits from the molded western saddle horn on his withers to his upraised tail. His leg has a crack, the wooden pegs are long gone and his stand rusted away and trashed. But in my imagination I ride him, remembering the real sound pounding of hooves and feel of mane flying in my face. We race the wind and he is still young and powerful and ready for anything.
Dreams are important. Sometimes we just need to remember them, perhaps, a real physical reminder like the old rocking horse most would’ve trashed or put in a yard sale to save space.
But even if I lost the plastic rocking horse, the dream will live. He’ll always be there: in the back of my memory, ready for a ride.
Don’t give up your dreams. Keep them handy even if you’ve had to set them aside.
Some day, you may need them again. You never know when the time will come when you can saddle them up and encourage yourself with the childlike joy of a wild ride.