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Photo by Audrey Pavia
Milagro and Rio tell me they love me.
I’ve been in love with horses since I was a little girl. This unending passion started at around age 9 and never quit. For most of my horse-loving childhood, I rode rental horses at stables near my house. I’d fall in love with a particular horse for awhile, the way other little girls developed fleeting crushes on boys. Then, that horse would be sold, my heart would break and I’d bravely fall in love again.
Every horse I became attached to was my special one; I dreamed about her being mine. I say “her” because they were almost always mares. I had to share these rental horses with a plethora of other people who rented them by the hour. I desperately wanted a sign from one of these horses that I was her special person — that she liked me the most out of everyone.
In the movies, horses always neighed to their masters. These loyal equines could spot their special person in a crowd of hundreds, whinnying with joy at the sight of the human they loved the most. I so wanted this to happen for me. Just once, I wanted my special rental horse to whinny when she saw me. But it never happened.
All these decades later, I’d pretty much forgotten about this obsession. Now I just want my horses to behave properly: don’t step on my feet, don’t bite me, don’t buck me off — that sort of thing.
But this past week, so many years later, I realized I finally have what I’d always wanted. It was the crack of dawn when I walked out the back door to feed the horses. I was stunned to find Milagro standing on the back lawn. Someone had forgotten to latch the chain on his stall, and he had gotten out in the middle of the night. Shocked to see him there, I said, “Hey buddy, what are you doing out here?” He lifted his head high, ears pricked, looked right at me, and whinnied.
Two days later, I was cleaning Milagro’s stall. Rio was in the stall next door, looking off into the distance. I walked close to Rio and said, “Hey sweet boy, how ya doing?” He looked at me and gave me a soft nicker in reply.
It was then I realized that the dream I had as a little girl had finally come true. I had not only one, but two horses who loved me enough to tell me so.