Over the beautiful weekend, my cowboy and I took the time to work with Freedom, the newest rescue at the farm which you can read about here and here. Ever since Freedom started his recovery with us not long ago, I have been dreaming of our first ride together. His calm demeanor has always settled my soul and I knew he would be a dream to work with once he was healthy. Well, that day finally arrived and I was eager to see if my sweet boy would allow me the privilege of riding him.
Andrew saddled him up with ease and no complaining from Freedom, of course. Before I stepped in the stirrups my heart fluttered just a bit. I was about to hop on a horse that hasn’t been ridden with a saddle before and there’s always a chance of a disastrous outcome. Out of precaution, I asked Andrew to walk me out the barn and to the pasture until I felt comfortable enough to handle it on my own.
Once I felt Freedom’s calm energy, my anxiety settled and I took control of the reins. Sparkle kept close while we were in the barn and was still walking about when we exited.
As we entered the pasture, Sparkle began to pick up speed as if signalling to Freedom “let’s go have some fun!” Freedom kept a steady pace as Sparkle circled around us.
I lead Freedom to different areas but then allowed him to walk at his leisure with Sparkle. I wanted to see how they would interact with one another.
The beauty that rest in those quiet moments of the pasture – Sparkle leading with Freedom following and vice versa, both horses walking in tune with each other. It was magic and I felt emotion well up in my eyes as I realized what a beautiful friendship the two of them share. Deep down, I think they both know the power of their rescue stories, each different but very much the same.
They were lost but are now found. They were broken but are now healed. They were neglected but are now loved and cared for. They were bound but are now free.
Sparkle never left our side the entire afternoon.
She didn’t want to miss out on any of the fun we were having.
Since Freedom was such a good boy on our first pasture ride and Sparkle remained on her best behavior, we decided to reward them with their favorite treat, Cheerios. My mother-in-law was visiting and finally experienced the joy of “Cheerio time”.
They bombarded her with love and kept their eyes on the cup of Cheerios.
I wish you could hear my mother-in-law’s giggles. She was tickled at Freedom’s meandering upper lip and Sparkle’s pushy antics for a treat. Sparkle is not at all timid when it comes to eating. She means business.
After a stressful week, Andrew’s mom was able to decompress and let the comfort of the farm wash over her that afternoon. As I’ve said many times before, everything melts away when you are around Freedom and Sparkle. Her experience wasn’t any different and that is exactly what our farm is all about. Whether it is feeding them Cheerios, brushing their hair or enjoying an easy ride through the pasture, time spent with the horses is good for the soul.
The following afternoon, my cowboy took his turn with Freedom and shined as he always does when riding horses. He’s a natural.
Watching Freedom’s tail fly in the wind makes my heart smile. I’ve come to the conclusion that my horse has much better hair than me.
The sunset was gorgeous that evening and my cowboy looked right at home. There’s nothing sexier than a man on a horse, especially my man.
My cowboy and I feel fortunate to live life alongside these beautiful animals. It is a privilege we don’t take for granted. We have learned you aren’t given a spot in your horse’s life, you have to earn it. The relationships we have with Sparkle and Freedom require work and the more we commit to them, the more they will share with us. It’s in moments like these that make it all worth it in the end.
Riding Freedom for the first time was a gift to the little girl inside of me. The little girl that understands being lost and broken. The little girl that is also a survivor. The little girl that understands the symbolism of a good redemption story. That little girl is healing from the inside out, one horse ride at a time.