Old Joe the Paint Pony

I don’t remember a time when I was not head over heels in love with horses. Even as a little girl, well under the age of five, they were all I thought about and all I dreamed about. I spent my days in an alternate world where I lived on a ranch in a cabin, rounded up wild horses and fought off the bad guys. I would go down into the basement and gather up a couple of ropes tie them to a chair and climb up on my dad’s bar stools that doubled as a stagecoach seat and drive the team. I didn’t have a clue where I was going, but the trail was mighty dusty and by golly I was getting there fast! The first love of my life was an paint pony I met on the parking lot of the local library one June afternoon. His name was Old Joe. Oh, he was the most beautiful, handsome thing I ever laid my eyes on. And for 35 cents a ride he was mine. I don’t recollect how long the rides lasted but I can promise you they were never long enough to suit me. If Old Joe was other wise engaged with another rider I would always wait for him, knowing that he would be just as disappointed as me if I were to spend my 35 cents on another pony. Old Joe was only at the library parking lot during the summer months and each of us kids got one ride a week and I lived for those rides.

I begged my parents relentlessly for a pony of my own and as I grew older and bigger I begged for a horse of my own. But dad’s answer was always the same, we couldn’t afford one. Ponies and horses were for rich kids and I was assured I was not one of “them”. My grandpa, on the other hand, in an attempt to make himself a hero and make a villain of my dad, promised he would buy me a pony if dad would let me keep it in the back yard. Now as an adult I understand why that was not possible, but as a small child I thought my father nothing short of downright mean! But that did not stop me in my pursuit to get a pony. I still recall my prayer each night starting in my childhood. I asked God for three things and one of them was a horse of my own. For many years I prayed the same prayer and even when it seemed pointless to keep praying I never gave up. And then one day, in His own timing, God answered and did he ever answer in a BIG way. It started with cleaning stalls, which led to grooming horses, which led to learning how to exercise and break horses which yes, led to getting my very own horse. You will notice I never said anything about learning how to ride. No one ever asked if I knew how to ride or do any of the other jobs I did, they just assumed I knew and well for that matter, I assumed I knew as well. Then before I knew it my whole life was horses. It was what I lived for. It was who I was and what I did. Every dream I ever dreamed, every prayer I ever prayed God answered. And you know how sometimes when you want something or pray for something for so long and you finally get it you are disappointed or let down? Oh not this. This answered prayer that my heart had yearned for so long was better than anything I could have ever imagined.

My parents wondered often thru the years, as did I, where this great love of horses that was obviously planted deep within my young heart and soul came from. I was born and raised in a suburb of St. Louis and horses were not a part of my world, so to long for a life with them made no sense at all. But as I traveled the bumpy hills and valleys of life and grown and matured in my relationship with God, I have come to understand what God means when He tells us that before we were ever born He planned our whole life for us. He knows every time we will stray from Him, every wrong path we will take and still He will use it for our good and to bring us where He always meant for us to be. I can look back on my life now and see why everything that ever happened, the joys, the heartaches, the laughter and the tears, were all necessary to bring me to where I am now in life. A life blessed beyond belief shared with a man that God choose for me from the very beginning, living here in Kentucky waiting for me as long as I waited for him. And to get me here, God used my life with horses. And to think it all started with a seed that God planted in the heart of a little, bitty girl long before she was born.

Until we meet here again, I pray God bless you and keep your loved ones safe.