I didn’t know I was in love, but I think it started on a drive from Missouri to Iowa. Rolling green fields parallel I-35, and there, enjoying the sunshine in one of those fields, was the object of my desire – a horse. It was but a fleeting glance at 75 mph, yet it was all that was needed to set in motion a newfound obsession.
It wasn’t long after that my parents and I drove past some horses happily grazing on a farm in northern Iowa, and I told them – I think I want a horse.
Lots of little girls go through horse phases. “Daddy, can I have a pony for my birthday?” But I was not one of those little girls. Growing up, I had my fair share of interactions with horses at birthday parties and summer camp, but I never felt any special attraction to the animal. (Dogs rule, ya know?)
I was lucky enough to be home this year for the spectacular event that is the Iowa State Fair. Not one for rides, I made my rounds through the animal barns: dairy cows, calves, big steers, little piglets, sheep, goats and even an ostrich, but you bet your britches the horses were my favorite. On my first visit, I only admired the animals in their stables. On my second visit though, the horse barn was full of beautiful, black Draft horses. They were huge, magnificent creatures. I stepped up to look at one named Grace who was munching on hay, but as I approached she lifted her head, and I was able to stroke her soft, velvety nose. Oh, I was smitten.
As luck would have it, I got an even closer encounter the next day. There are horse stables in town that back up to a bike trail, and on the route home I decided to hop off and check out the horses. Not only did I get to check them out, but two of them moseyed over and stuck their heads over the fence and let me pet them. They were sweet, sweet horses and I offered them some handfuls of the grass they’d been grazing on. They readily accepted my offer then proceeded to lick my hands, and I was one happy girl.