For starters I can’t believe I’m actually putting this photograph on a post but I think it’s the only one I have of me and Jingles. I think it’s one of maybe three that I have of that horse at all. Before the age of digital photography you had to pay for each image you took. Not only that but it was more of a project. Buy the film, expose the film, bring it to have it processed, wait a week or more, pick it up, throw half of them away . . . you get the idea. My mother wasn’t the most sentimental of people and she was also quite frugal – photographs were not really in the budget (except for those school pictures, ugh). This photograph I believe was actually taken by Eunice Hillier at their house on Ford Hill Rd. Her youngest John and Sarah are on the horse’s back. As memory serves this must have been around 1968 or so. I was 12 or 13 I think.
When my daughters were little we would spend weekends and summers in Rowe and I would tell them stories about the animals we had when I was growing up. About the horses, cows, sheep, goats, pigs – everything except a dog. They never believed me. They would play in the back forty never knowing the number of animals that had happily grazed it for the years that I was growing up there. In their minds I think it was just impossible to picture their mother with animals they only saw at Forest Park zoo.
I often dream about having another horse, I have a couple of friends that still have them but we are all more realistic these days. We are much more aware of our physical limitations when it comes to riding. I think back on the number of times I’ve fallen (or been thrown) from a horse and understand that if I took that kind of fall today I would likely end up with a hospital stay rather than walking it off like a teenager. I thought maybe a small draft would be good but when I’m more rational in my thinking I know that having a horse is a distant memory. Still that nagging desire to have something from the equine family is still there. It probably never goes away. Hmmmm, maybe a donkey or two. Something that will be happy grazing the back forty and I can scratch its ears on a daily basis.