It runs in the family.
I don’t know about you, but I hear that a lot. I’ve said it many times, and it can mean any number of things. Earlier this week, I was doing a Thankful Thursday post and I mentioned how much I’m like my dad. I used the word stubborn, though he prefers to say strong-willed. That isn’t always a good trait to have.
What it brought to mind this week was horses. We’re equine enthusiasts in our family. Not everyone is affected, but it seems to strike one person in each generation.
The header image is a picture of my dad in 1988, riding in the annual horseshow on his best racking horse. This was roughly the same year he taught me to ride. I was five. He tossed me in the saddle, handed me the reins, and told me to go. And go we did. His name was Bo. He was a registered spotted saddle horse, and he was one of the absolute best horses you could ever own.
I could spend days talking about him, but we’ll leave it there for now.
Here’s my dad again, around 2004, riding my mare, Misty.
Misty was my horse from the day she was born. Which was roughly August 1997. My dad and I raised and trained her ourselves, and she became a wonderful friend. That mare never met a trail she wouldn’t walk or a creek she wouldn’t cross. She’d even take you swimming if she felt like it, even if there was a perfect trail through the shallows (there’s a whole story there too).
Before that day when Dad tossed me in the saddle, I was obsessed with horses. I spent as much time at the barn as I could. I read every book I could find. I bought my first horse when I was 10, using money I earned from chores and saving my lunch money. Can you guess which horse I “bought”? Yep. I bought Bo from my uncle.
In college, I rode professionally, earning several second and third place ribbons for the school’s Equine team. I spent many weekends trail riding with Misty. We even took Bo so the timid riders could have a good mount. He was in his 20s by that time and as steady as the sunrise. Nothing scared that horse.
Now, here I am, pushing 40 and teaching my 9-year-old niece how to ride. Neither of my kids inherited the horse bug, but she did, and it got her good.
If you’ve made it this far into the post, you’re likely wondering where I’m headed.
Erm…so am I (ha!)
All those years of horse love, riding, and learning influenced my first book series. In the first and third books, horses play a major role in the character arc. Cheyenne and Phoenix are survivors of child abuse. Cheyenne turned to horses for peace and safety. Phoenix flees to an equine therapy camp where horses are used to help reach at-risk kids. (I should also note that this series has a speculative element as a few of the main characters have gifts that allow them to heal pain, visualize lies, and see the past or the future. I know some readers prefer to avoid the speculative aspects.)
Even as I write my fun romances, I tend to meander my way back to the stables. I can’t seem to write more than one book before I have to include a horse. Even if it’s a small part in the story.
What’s your favorite childhood memory? As you can guess, all mine include horses.
Mary Preston says
I had a blessed childhood, so have a great many happy memories.
I’m so glad to hear that. I think I sometimes take my childhood for granted when I hear what some went through. Mine was blessed as well.
My childhood memories include my parents outside playing with us. They would turn the rope so my sisters and I could jump, and Daddy would even jump rope with us. They did many other things with us, but no other parents were outside playing with their kids.
That’s definitely a great memory and one you will cherish. Thank you for sharing it.
Funnily I thought of hair when you mentioned family traits. One day mum was trying to remove the tangles from my fine hair and grumbling. Smart aleck me told her it was her fault cause my hair was just like hers. She promptly responded no it wasn’t, it was my grandfather’s as it was his fine, straight hair and peaches’n’cream complexions we had. Lots of happy memories from childhood, thanks for reminding me :)
Oh my goodness my hair is the same. Super thick but fine and always tangling. You’re welcome for the reminder. My mom and I had a few smart slack exchanges through the years lol. I take my sarcasm after my dad.
I know, I pull it apart strand by strand if it’s been more than a day without brushing. No way a brush can detangle it, but mum surely trief with lots of tears on both sides when I was a little tacker. Thankfully I know how to detangle painlessly now.
Lelia (Lucy) Reynolds says
I have so many great memories playing games as a family, sledding, singing and dancing, mama always cooking and teaching us, etc I was blessed with wonderful parents.
Love those kind of memories! I have never been sledding. It’s on my bucket list.
Hi Tabitha! Childhood memories are attending church with my parents. As German immigrants, we attend a German speaking church and my parents friends were my grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. I left Germany at age 5 and didn’t see my maternal grandmother until I was 26. Since we lived in a small Michigan rural community on the shores of Lake Michigan and my dad missed the big city, we made summer trips to distant relatives and friends in Chicago, Milwaukee, or Detroit. Road trips before interstates and air conditioned cars were memorable – especially the stinky steel mills of Gary and South Chicago. My dad also liked to play board games, but we knew he cheated. Holiday memories are a favorite. As Americans we embraced Thanksgiving with turkey and fixings. As Germans we celebrated Christmas with Advent calendar, wreath, Christmas tree with white lights, St. Nicholas Day on Dec. 6 and opened our presents Christmas Eve after church. So many memories. Enjoy your weekend.
Reading, music, learning French and studying the Bible top my list. My parents were both teachers (Dad taught music, Mom taught French) so I got the benefit of both of those. And we were all readers! I had my Mom’s penchant for mysteries. I also had a close relationship with the pastor’s family in our little rural church and have many fond memories of my “second family”. The good times were salted with some struggles as well but I am learning to embrace the beauty that both of my families instilled in my life. Thanks for sharing.
Alicia Haney says
Hi Tabitha, thank you for sharing your awesome memories. I too was blessed with very good and loving parents. When I was growing up our parents got us a horse, his name was Big Red my siblings and I named him (I have 5 siblings) and we all took our turns riding him. My parents always made sure we all had everything, we never lacked anything. Our birthdays and all the Holidays were very Special. On our birthdays my dad would go to our bedroom door and play Happy Birthday to us on his harmonica, even after I was married he would call me on the phone and play it . Our birthdays would start with our dad playing happy birthday to us before he went to work, then during the morning my mom would take us to the bakery so that we could choose our cake and then we would go get a carton of ice cream , we would have cake and ice cream after we all ate dinner. I have very beautiful memories that I cherish from growing up. Have a Great weekend and stay safe. God bless you and your family. I enjoyed reading your post.
Natalya Lakhno says
My best childhood memories include trips to the sea during summer :)
Some of my fondest childhood memories were summer visits to my grandparents in Tennessee.
Debra J Pruss says
My favorite memories include the time I spent in West Virginia. My Mom was born and raised in a small logging community. There is not logging in the area anymore. The house is in a valley with a stream across the road. I loved being able to look at the mountains and play in the stream.
Amy Perrault says
My most favourite childhood memories were going camping like we do now but as a kid & teen with my BFF & all friends where we camp cause we did so much & was so fun!!
Sylvain P says
My childhood memories there’s so many like fishing with my dad & camping.
Shannon Taylor Vannatter says
I love horses if there’s a fence between me and them. Which is crazy since I write cowboy romance. But, I always wanted a horse when we lived in the city. Once we moved to rural Arkansas when I was 12, my parents bought me one. I fell off once and that was enough. I got back on after that, but either my dad led the horse by the reins or it was a really old calm horse. Wow, that’s a great question. I have lots of memories, but I hadn’t thought about my favorite. It would have to be going to Six Flags Over GA with my cousins. We lived about 10 miles away and spent our summers there. My dream job was sweeping debris on roller skates there. I loved Six Flags and I loved to roller skate, so it seemed like the perfect job to me. I probably would have fulfulled it, if we hadn’t moved :)
She S says
I love horses but never had the opportunity to own any. Then I became allergic, so maybe it was a good thing I only rode them at a friend’s house when I was growing up! I still love them but stay far away.
I have always admired horses, they are so sleek & beautiful. I have never had the opportunity to own one. I remember riding my cousin’s pony around in my aunt’s yard when I was young. (Oh, how I hate to think how long ago that was!)