When I was growing up, I was horse-crazy. One Christmas, when I was eight or nine, I was writing my Christmas list. After scribbling down requests for books, doll clothes, and Breyer horses, I calmly added to the list: “a pony”. Those were my exact words. I didn’t care what color or age it was, I just wanted a pony — any pony.
Sadly, I never got one.
After all, we lived in the suburbs; you weren’t allowed to raise chickens, let alone have a pony in your backyard. And to my parents’ credit, they did pay for expensive riding lessons for many, many years, so I am not in any way blaming them.
Be that as it may, I still feel a little sad knowing that I can never say: “I had my own pony as a kid”.
That is why I was delighted to read this article from Reader’s Digest.
Two girls, Brenda and Jacy, wanted a pony. But their father was the pastor of a small-town church, and couldn’t afford such a thing.
Yet, since they had their hearts set on it, he decided to look around and see what he could do.
One day, he revealed to his daughters that their neighbor, Mr. Dubbs, was getting a pony for his granddaughter, and was willing to let them ride it.
The two were ecstatic! They had a pony! So what that it wasn’t technically theirs? So what that they didn’t know how to ride? So what that the pony would try everything in his power to throw them off? They had a pony, and that’s all that mattered!
The pony, whose name was Blackie, slowly taught them how to ride.
A few years later, they were becoming too big for Blackie. So, secretly, Mr. Dubbs bought them each a horse. He didn’t ride, and his granddaughter had lost the horse-fever long ago. He merely bought the horses out of the kindness of his heart.
Brenda and Jacy didn’t know any of this, but nevertheless, they were over-joyed to each have a horse to call their own. Brenda took the palomino, whom she called Maize, while Jacy rode the sorrel. The sorrel’s name was Rex. “To say we were in heaven is an understatement”, Brenda writes.
Tragically, after two blissful years, Mr. Dubbs passed away and the horses were sold off.
“We were heartbroken.”
But that was not the end.
Their father, the pastor, found a way, yet again. Another kind-hearted neighbor lent them his two horses — Dolly, another palomino, and Sparky, a paint. Brenda and Jacy had lots of adventures with these horses, including one time when Brenda’s horse got scared and galloped away. Brenda had to walk 3 miles to find it again.
That was many years ago, but the equine enthusiasm lives on to this day. Nowadays, Brenda still rides, and she is even passing the love of horses on to her own granddaughter, who is herself learning to ride.
Despite now owning two quarter horses and competing professionally, Brenda still often pauses to remember how she got here. “[W]ithout the generosity of others, this unlikely cowgirl would still just be dreaming….”
So I propose a toast — to kind people. To dreams. And most of all, to horses.
- https://www.rd.com/true-stories/inspiring/ponies-for-daughters/ (Article originally published in Country magazine.)