We all had one.
The one that made us giddy, gave us butterflies, passed notes to in study hall. The one we scribbled the name of all over our notebooks (you know you did!). The one we dreamed what our life would be like together, married and with kids. Maybe our first love even gave us that first kiss, as awkward as it was, it was memorable, none the less.
But my first love was even more special and memorable than that. And it wasn't a boy, either. Earlier than I can remember, I was in love with horses. Any and all horses. I dreamed, wished upon a star and prayed nightly for my dreams of owning a horse to come true. I lived and breathed horses as a little girl. I would be remiss to say that I do hope RayRay carries on my infatuation with horses.
In an unconventional sort of way, my dreams came true in 1994. I was in 4th grade.
After an unfortunate turn of events (my parents divorce), I found myself the new owner of a horse. A horse named Jack. My parents bought Jack, a registered Quarter Horse as a family horse from an auction in Michigan and then during the divorce my mom acquired Jack.
It was a bit awkward, I'll admit, but I was determined to love that horse and make him my own. I read every equine book known to mankind (ok, maybe not every) to learn about caring for and training a show horse.
|County Fair 2000|
|Jack in 2007|
By the way, Jack was not a show horse, prior to 94. He was, well just a regular kind of horse.
But not to me. To me, he was and will always be the most beautiful, spectacular horse in the world. He was my very own white stallion.
From the age of 14 on, I cared for Jack day and night, trained him and showed him in 4-H at the local and state level.
I loved him so, but good lord did he test me. To admit that he was ornery would I believe be an understatement. He was a stinker and we had our good days and bad days. But his personality seemed to override his sometimes cynical attitude. He was very loving and full of personality.
He would follow me anywhere and do just about anything I asked of him, except of course when I showed him. Then he would really put on a show. But then again, we did win quite a few blue ribbons, because when he was on, we were red hot.
|Jack in 2009. Still beautiful.|
Today is Jack's birthday. He would be 30 today.
You see, we were the same age. We literally grew up together from the age of 7 on. We spent alot of time together and I'm not afraid to admit that I'd practice my dance moves (and vocals too) out in the barn while I cleaned his stall that only he would be witness to. He was even a part of my science fair project in 8th grade when I played different varieties of music to see if it affected his behavior and performance. I can't recall the results, as it was a pretty bogus project, but then again, it was fun.
Two years ago, I lost my first love when he came down with a cancerous infection in his intestines. I was just three months pregnant with RayRay at the time.
It was the saddest, most difficult day of my life to date. I remember telling our veterinarian that I would walk him outside in the cold snow all day if it would help him get better (I walked him in circles for eight straight hours that faithful day in January).
I remember sitting with him in the snow as he laid down to close his eyes for the final time, telling him how much I loved him and what he meaned to me. I remember telling him to stay so he could meet my little girl.
He was 27 when we had to put him down and I love him still to this day. In fact, he was so important to me that he was part of our wedding photos. And as you may've guessed by now, that photo hangs on our bedroom wall.
|Our wedding day Oct. 15, 2005|