Monday, September 28, 2015


Dreams are fascinating.

By definition: a dream is "a series of thoughts, images, and sensations occurring in a person's mind during sleep."

Usually for me, the thoughts, images, and sensations in my dreams stem from memories and experiences from the previous few days.  My dreams are mostly pleasant and brief, sometimes laughable (like the time I dreamed my college roommate Karina was a cattle farmer and we were wearing heavy puffer coats while looking at her bulls at the state fair).

Last night, though, I had the rare treat of dreaming a precious memory from many years ago.  I didn't want to wake up.

The Backstory:
As many young girls are, I was always interested in horses and wanted to take riding lessons.  My mother found an opportunity for me to learn at a local family farm and I loved it -- I groomed, saddled, rode, and fed the horses, and couldn't get enough!  My riding lessons didn't last for more than a month or two, but I had gained a lot more enthusiasm for horse care and riding western-style.  

The summer before I entered the 6th grade, I got to go to Horse Camp at Hidden Acres for a week.  I had the time of my life and returned the next year for two weeks as a wrangler-in-training.  The summer following that I was an assistant wrangler.  I loved using the skills I'd learned over the years in a leadership position, and everything about the work was fun for me, even the dirty chores that started at 6:00 a.m.!

I'll never forget my very first ride as a brand-new horse camper in 6th grade.  We were allowed to choose our own horse.  I chose a large, gentle chestnut gelding named Champ.  We helped groom and saddle, and when we mounted I was instantly uncomfortable.  One of the cowboys could tell, and told me I needed a smaller horse since I was so short -- my feet were nowhere near where they needed to be on the sides of the horse.

I was disappointed because I already liked Champ, but I obeyed the handsome cowboy and walked across the ring to a smaller, strawberry roan mare he had directed me to.  Her name was Lady.

I fell in LOVE.  Lady was a Missouri Fox Trotter, meaning her gait was smooth as silk.  No awkward bouncing when she trotted, and her canter was an absolute dream.  Her beautiful coat was reddish blond and shiny.  She nuzzled and gave "kisses", and was never temperamental.

Lady and I stayed together for as long as I attended and worked at camp.  Since she was short like me, she was always in my care group (along with Gus the mule and an appaloosa pony whose name I can't remember) and was, of course, my first choice for riding.  She was great with scared riders and didn't react to rider tension, so my fearful campers always got to ride Lady.  

So, my dream:
I was at camp again and it was present-time.  I was walking toward the horse barn, and of course, I was wondering if Lady was still there after all the years.  I walked in and saw two roans.  The first one had dark-rimmed ears and no blaze...not Lady.  The second horse had a rider, and was irritated -- ears flat back on her head and starting to rear.  I walked up to the horse and looked at her.  She instantly calmed and came right up to me with a nuzzle.  I swear she smiled, too!  It was Lady!  I wrapped my arms around her neck and cried with happiness...she was here!  She had grown some gray in her mane and tail and looked tired, but no doubt about it, this was my girl.  " you remember me?"

I'm pretty sure all the other horses and people disappeared at this point.

Everything was the same about the barn.  That horsey smell, the smell that some people can't tolerate but I think is therapeutic...Lady's sounds and mannerisms...the tack dirty, worn-out black Ropers with fringe on the toes...the feed buckets dangling in front of each horse's special place on the posts.

Lady was wearing her halter so I led her around the barn.  She stopped by the tack room and all of the sudden, her bridle was in her mouth and she dropped it into my hands.  I laughed and said "Want to go for a ride, old girl?"  

I woke up as soon as I mounted.  Have you ever tried as hard as humanly possible to "get back to a dream" after waking?  I have never been able to do it.  Lady was gone, camp had vanished, I wasn't going for a ride...and it was 5:30...time to get up.

I didn't want to let go of the dream or the memory, so I stayed in bed and recounted every single thought over and over so I wouldn't lose them.  

I am so thankful for those opportunities and memories.   
I am thankful that I'm only a couple hours away from Hidden Acres and that visiting is never too far out of reach.
I am thankful that even though horses aren't part of my life anymore, I have unique knowledge and skills that I can always use if the opportunity presents itself again.
I am thankful that night-time dreams remind us of our childhood dreams.

Love, Betsy

1 comment:

  1. I love this post, Betsy! I am a huge dreamer and sometimes they are so unsettling but sometimes they are so wonderful! And yes---I have wanted to go back and finish a dream many times. Many times.