Heart & Soul Story- What's Not To Like

By Cassie Mangold

  What do I like about my horses? They take me places no one else can go, trail riding with wonderful friends and family, giving kids their 1st ride, telling people about how God used the time spent on horseback to heal the gaping wounds between me and my sister, hanging out in the barn for therapy after a hard day, riding bareback around the pasture, grooming & scratching their bellies and necks getting those soft knickers when they know it's dinner time, the way they smell.....what's not to like?

   I always dreamed of owning a horse for as long as I can remember.  Everything in my childhood years revolved around horses.  The few Barbies we had were used to ride our model horses.  My sister and I would spend hours cutting out cardboard barns and fences, crocheting saddle pads and braiding string into bridles.  Most little girls didn’t get the way we played but there was no changing our horse crazed minds.

   We had contact with our family in the country when we were little-up to about the age of nine.  Our Poppa would let us ride the ponies but not with saddles because he was afraid we’d get dragged.  We learned to ride bareback on irritable ponies who taught us well how to be launched over obstacles and swiped off by fences but we kept getting back on every chance we got.  Then due to divorces and remarriage we lost these connections and ended up living in the city until we were adults.

   My sister and I were loving and civil to each other after many hard years but lacking in the bond that most sisters seem to have because of unknowingly being pitted against each other by our step-father.  It wasn’t until she moved to the country, got horses and invited me and my small son out to ride that we discovered how much had gone on that we didn’t realize and how innocent we both really were of the things we thought the other had done.  We rediscovered how much we loved and needed each other on the trails, far from civilization where no one could interrupt our much needed healing time.

   I never in my wildest dreams thought I would actually own a horse.  But, at thirty, I got my first horse after her husband found a mustang for sale cheap and I thought it was a good idea to buy him.  I named him Cool Red Dude and that wild creature was like getting hooked up with those ponies again.  I worked hard to settle him down and Dude taught me how to ride all over again.  My sister and our kids had many wonderful adventures on the trails, in the creeks, racing across pastures and picnicking under huge trees.

   Since then Dude has moved on to greener pastures and my sister bred her mare and I now have a wonderful twelve year old half Hancock mare that will go through anything like a bulldozer when we forge our new trails.  What a wonderful time the last fifteen years have been.  Just last weekend we took two of her grandkids out for a trail ride in the river bottoms and they saw up close a bald eagle, deer galore, two white barn owls, and fish floundering in a shallow, almost dried up pond.  It’s joy beyond compare and I hope for many more years of riding to come.  It’s been more fun than should be legal but we hope to never stop riding, loving our horses and sharing the joy with others.