Horsey girl at heart
By Debra LoGuercio
©Copyright 1999, Debra Lo Guercio, all rights reserved
You have your cat people and you have your dog
people. Everyone seems to be one or the other, depending on whether they
prefer to dominate or be dominated by their animals. But it's not really
an "A or B" world. There's a "C" bunch out there that prefers animals in
the large, industrial strength size. We prefer animals that won't eat your
shoes, relieve themselves on the carpet or lick their private parts when
company comes over. We're not cat people or dog people. We're horse people.
Horse people are predominantly women. They
start out as Horsey Girls. The Horsey Girl stage occurs around age 9 or
so, when horse lust consumes a little girl's existence. She draws horses
at school. She puts posters of horses on the wall. She owns every single
book ever written by Walter Farley or Marguerite Henry, and can recite passages
of "Black Beauty" by heart. And not one single Christmas list doesn't have
"a pony" right at the top.
Another sure indicator of the Horsey Girl
stage: no interest in Barbie dolls whatsoever, unless Barbie is riding on
top of plastic horse models. And if Barbie is too stiff to sit on her horse
properly, there's an easy remedy: break her legs at the hip. You know your
kid's a Horsey Girl if every one of her Barbie dolls has at least one leg
Horse lust only consumes little girls. Little
boys at this stage are preoccupied with producing armpit farts, snickering
about bodily fluid and attempting to burp the entire Pledge of Allegiance
with one breath. Which probably explains why little girls prefer horses
over little boys. Little girls don't like unruly, stinky, dirty beasts.
Unless they have silky coats and long, flowing tails.
I was a Horsey Girl. My room was filled
with Breyer horse models, which is all I ever asked for come every birthday
and every Christmas. While my friends were making lovely, lacy little doll
houses for their Barbies, I was out on the lawn making ranches for my horses,
using sticks for fences and empty tuna cans for watering troughs.
You can spot a Horsey Girl by her clothes.
Back in my Horsey Girl days, other girls were donning their "Mod" outfits
and white go-go boots, but I proudly walked the neighborhood in the official
Horsey Girl uniform: dusty cowboy boots, knee socks, stretch shorts and
a plaid cowboy shirt with shiny silver snaps down the front. And the hair?
Ponytail, of course!
Now, among your Horsey Girl population,
you have two categories: those with horses and those without. I was fortunate.
I had a horse, so I didn't pine away in equine lust like my horseless counterparts
who could only dream of having a horse for years until they discovered (to
their parents' horror) that teenage boys can take the sting out of not having
a horse. (Note to parents: Get her the horse. It will hold full-blown adolescence
at bay for a few extra, precious years.)
But even with a horse of your own, adolescence
may be forestalled, but it won't be prevented. You may buy a few extra years
of sweet childhood, but sooner or later, the hormones kick in. And they
will not be ignored.
There comes a point in every Horsey Girl's
life when she's walking down the hallway in junior high, and all of a sudden,
that dorky freak from history class magically transforms into the cutest
boy on earth. Birds sing when he appears. The clouds part and rays of sunlight
beam down in his presence. Just like that, heartbeats replace hoofbeats,
and all those Black Stallion books get shoved aside to make room for Seventeen
magazine, curling irons and shoeboxes full of mascara and lip gloss. The
posters of horses running through meadows come down, and are replaced with
posters of celebrity boys that make groups of teenage girls emit that ear-piercing
squeal that makes fingernails on a chalkboard seem gentle to the ears by
It happens to the best of us Horsey Girls,
even me. Little by little, my horse became an afterthought. Once I hit high
school, I was more interested in studs than stallions. But I didn't totally
give up horses. I still had one in college and even after I got married.
But then came the kiss of death for a Horsey Girl: children. There was no
longer such a thing as "free time" to go riding. And when you discover that
it costs about the same to board and feed a horse as it does to pay for daycare
and diapers, and there's only so much money to go around, one or the other
has to go. And the hospital wouldn't take my kids back. There was no other
choice. I traded in my saddle for a stroller. My Horsey days were over.
Ah, but once a Horsey Girl, always a Horsey
Girl. I didn't sing "Rock-A-Bye Baby" to my babies. They heard "Don't Fence
Me In" and "Run for the Roses" and "Old Paint." And no teething rings for
them. They had My Little Pony to gnaw on. And when my daughter started kindergarten,
it wasn't in Baby Reeboks. She strutted off to school in pink cowgirl boots,
sequins flashing and fringe swaying.
My kids are growing up now, and who knows
— more time and cash flow may become a reality. I'm starting to think about
climbing back into the saddle again. It's been far too long since I spent
some time with dirty, stinky, unruly beasts. The kind with silky coats and
long, flowing tails, that is.