My parents tried stopping me from being a Horse Girl

Jen Meinhardt, Contributor

As a kid I was one of those fearsome horse girls. I was absolutely crazy about horses. To be completely honest, I’m still gaga about them as a fully fledged adult, but in the time of my youth, my passion could be summarized by a single word: unstoppable. This is the kind of force that had me knocking on my neighbors doors and asking to pet their horses, climbing over and under electric fences and into every available paddock I could find. I was insatiable.

Horse camp and riding lessons didn’t quench my desire to be around these animals, and even backing neck-first into an electric fence to keep from being trampled by the objects of my affection neither dampened nor softened my love. I would come home, trumping manure on my tennis shoes with the smell of horse on my clothes. My grandmother hated it.

My grandmother grew up with horses and lived the whole farm-life shebang. She despised farm life; she despised horses and everything that came with them. She told me in an almost desperate way that my love for these animals was just a phase and that it would pass. She practically begged me to take down my horse posters, to stop using my chore allowance on Grand Champion Horse models and to please, please, PLEASE stop asking my grandfather to buy one for me. Eventually my love did seem to dull a little. Once I hit my teens I inevitably became more interested in things like school that, my friends and homework took away my time to wander between the small hobby farms our house was nestled amongst. My grandmother eventually assumed my love had diminished. I no longer put in subscriptions to magazines like “Horses and Young Rider.” I stopped buying the models. I didn’t put any more thumb-tack holes in my bedroom walls for horse posters. She assumed the danger had passed until, as a young twenty-something with a brand new job, I came to visit and told her the thing she least wanted to hear. “Hey Grandma, you’ll never guess — I just got a job with horses!”

This article was originally published in the Nov. 16, 2018 issue. 

Illustration  by Rachel Lindo.