This is one of several articles my wonderful bright niece, Erica McMurray, who is studying agriculture at Tarleton State. She is so clever!
Pick up the horse book. It’s worth it.
I was wandering around Half Price Books and standing in the Young Adult aisle when a little girl and her family wandered over looking for books about horses. You could tell the mom and the sister didn’t know much to anything about horses, but the little girl was bouncing off the walls with excitement. She was looking for a book not just about horses, but about riding horses. When they found one, I’m pretty sure she just about had a heart attack from being so excited.
As I watched her, I literally started crying. Not sobbing, just a few rolling down my cheeks. Enough to have to wipe them off with my sleeve.
It was like I was watching myself standing in the aisle of that bookstore. Begging my mom for the $35 “Horse Encyclopedia,” and when I did get it for my birthday I spent hours poring over it. Learning all I could about horse care and riding, diseases and breeds. Leaving colorful sticky notes littered throughout the pages, marking what I thought was important information or breeds I particularly liked. I would run my fingers over the colorful pages and flip them until the spine was so worn you would have to be careful or they would fall right out.
It reminded me of how lucky I am. I’m going to college to do what I love, and every day I spend time teaching little girls to ride and riding horses for others. I look in the back pasture and I see my nice horse trailer and 1200 pounds of pure, goofy muscle. I open my tack room door and I have everything I read about in those books. Bits and saddles, boots and blankets. I’ve achieved everything I wanted as a little girl, hell they even called me the Horse Girl in high school.
I left the store with my heart happy and my eyes full of tears. To see that the dream still exists and to realize I had achieved it is more than I could have ever hoped for. I wanted to show her which book to get and tell her if she works hard she can do it. She can learn to ride and spend all day doing what she loves. That it’s all possible. That I was her at one point and look where I am now. I don’t want her to give up, or quit. I want her to know that she can brush herself off and climb back on, and it’s OK to sit and cry for a minute before standing up once you hit the ground. She should know that this, or whatever she chooses to do is way more than worth it.
But instead I wiped up my tears, told her that she had chosen a good book, and walked away smiling.
So to all of the little girls in Half Price Books, flipping through the colorful pages of a horse book…
It’s everything you hope it will be.
More from Erica McMurray: https://www.theodysseyonline.com/@ericamcmurray