I most recently was inspired with the idea of listing 100 things to do before I go.
I feel this sweet concept falls under the heading of unusual gift ideas for yourself. Dreaming of the attainable and then just plain old dreaming.  I really like the Mighty girl list written by Maggie Mason and was really inspired to start thinking if I really could even come up with 100 things I want to do.  Maggie Mason’s lifestyle site is pretty impressive and you can view her list and let it inspire you as it did me. 

I have always loved the beauty and splendor of watching a horse galloping over an open field.  I believe it goes back to the memory of me  as a young girl and riding our neighbour’s horses. Spunky and Dottie were their names; two welsh ponies that were as different as night and day.  Spunky was white and had blue eyes and a temper to go with his name.  Dottie was a lovely brown and white pinto mare and was as gentle as a summer’s day.  The main thrill of these two horses was that there was only a bridle to ride the horses with for me.  There were  saddles but my neighbours (o.k. they were way more than neighbours-they were basically family) used the horses to compete with and so the saddles were a highly coveted item. I was invited to ride when I wanted but only using a bridle.  

How hard could this be I would ask myself?  I would watch the ponies and I would talk to them.  I had this inside feeling that I should be able to talk to the ponies and then bridle them up and be able to have your classic glorious ride. Girl and pony riding in unison, people in awe of us as to how connected the horse and I were. 

It actually never really went that way however.  Basically I was thrown, bucked, stomped on and bitten.  I remember thinking as I flew over Dottie’s ears with the reins in my hand;   all in slow motion,  how could this be happening to me because I loved that horse and had spent hours talking to her.

Spunky was actually not a very nice horse to me on a consistent basis, and he would throw me sideways by taking a quick turn to the left and of course I would go flying to the right.  It was something I always wanted to be good at, riding a horse, plain and simple. 

Forever the optimistic I never gave up on my love of horses. In my teens over two summers I went riding at a stable on the beach.  My leased horse was a strawberry appaloosa and his name was Jack. While all the other horses would run back to the stable on the turn around path Jack would take my lead. He would walk and canter with such ease.  He had a gentle mouth, and a pink nose to touch and I loved him.
The second summer I had no money and I would go and wait for him to come back from the ride just to see him. Then one day I went to the stable and he was gone.
I had talked to my parents about owning Jack for a solid year, but it was a luxury and not a necessity to my parents. That is not how I felt about it at all.  All these years later I still get welled up inside with happiness when I think about that time spent with that rented horse Jack. 

Not to give up on my love of horses, I applied at the local horse track and showed up at 4:30am to help  a trainer that I had begged to give me a chance to show how good I could be with horses.  I lasted one day.  After the race I was given a horse named Hank to walk, and things went pretty well during the first walk around the barn  but on the second turn he slid just so slightly on the cobblestone got spooked and yanked his head so hard he basically lifted me up off the ground.  I was so embarrassed and was relieved to be told it was o.k. that I didn’t have to come back the next day. 

In my early thirties I was flush with cash and I thought I would take English riding lessons. It looked a lot easier than just riding bareback and I had still the dream of
horses and riding. That didn’t go so well either.  I would talk to my rented horse in the stall prior to my lesson, and feel confident that things would go well. I really loved my riding pants and black velvet helmet and boots.  Each lesson started out all right  but inevitably the horse I leased “Lady”, would slam me into the sideboards of the ring. 

The last lesson I took I had actually graduated to small jumps. I am not really sure how it all happened but the horse while in mid-air and then on the way landing dumped me.  I never let go of the reins and unfortunately my right foot was caught in the stirrup.  Lady the horse stopped. We were both breathing pretty heavy.  However, my trainer started yelling and with that off took the horse with me entwined in the stirrup.  I grabbed those reins so hard I could feel the hurt from my hands to my arms and back.  When Lady the horse stopped I got up and limped out of the ring bent over like the letter L.  

So when I saw Stacy Westfall 2006 ride with her quarterhorse Roxy I was yelling at the video. “I knew it – I knew it could be done”! When I scrolled through Stacy’s blog comments, everyone’s  comments include their emotions expressed with tears.  You will be too I am sure when you see the video, it is so amazing and inspiring.  For me though, it is a solid confirmation that there could be such an honest communication between horse and rider.  Roxy the horse died February 8, 2012.

It is with this video that I kick off my 100 things to do before I go.

01. Meet Stacy Westfall
02. Take riding lessons with Stacy Westfall
03. Meet Maggie Mason
04. Have a blog that is Mighty Girl league
05. Have another dog that lives a long life
06. Stretch everyday
07. Visit the 7 wonders of the world
08. Write a story that inspires people to laugh
09. Paint beautiful portraits of landscape and animals
10. Develop an app
11. Knit a scarf
12. Learn qi gong
13. Own a white pantsuit
14. Learn to speak Mandarin
15. Learn to speak Spanish
16. Have a party with my childhood cousins
17. Rescue a llama
18. Learn how to play a Brahms piano piece
19. Be blessed with a  cat that can match Lapinsky
20. Spend a winter in Sedona Az.
21. Ski Aspen 
22. Learn to sign language for the deaf
23. Make a rack of lamb
24. Visit the Smithsonian
25. Design a product for a worthy charity like Red/Gap
26. Win a millionaire lottery 
27. Donate a water/well for a village in Africa
28. Teach kids how to play the piano
29. Shoot, Cut and Edit my own video 
30. Take Dad to a art show in Jackson Hole, Wy.
31. Make a pie
32. Make perogies from scratch
33. See a bottlenose dolphin (aka Flipper) in the wild

That is as far as I can get, at this one sitting. 

I will pick this up again, and enjoy the process of the final entries. Dream, Dream, Dream… What does your list look like?

Have a beautiful day,

Photo: “Reflection” PKM



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