Sigh. I guess we should talk about it. The four letter word. It’s every where today. It’s on signs, posters, and cards. You can’t escape it.


The first time I fell in love, he swept me off my feet. He made my heart beat faster and my eyes twinkle.

He had brown eyes and the longest eye lashes.

And he came running every time I shook that oat bucket and called his name.

Little Joe. Part Welsh pony, part work horse, and the love of my life.

Did you think I was going to talk about a person? Haha. Let’s be serious. Nothing beats a love of a horse.

The love a girl has for a horse? Well that love gets seared into your soul.

Little Joe appeared into my life. Or so it seemed. I’m sure it was out of necessity. But he was my Uncle Jeff’s horse and when Little Joe retired that’s where he returned.

I am, by trade, a daughter to a rancher. That comes with some perks. Like horses.

Some horses, like Little Joe, come into your life and it’s never the same.

Little Joe always put up with me. He didn’t care how many tries it took me to get him lined up against the fence to climb up and jump on his back. Or ho. w many friends I dared to pile onto him. He just stood there waiting for my shenanigans to be done.

Like that time we all thought we would be trick riders and stand up in our saddles. That didn’t end so well.

When I fell off, he would just wait patiently for me to get back on. Or in most cases, throw the lead rope over my shoulder and walk him home.

Little Joe’s speed was unmatched. It was the first time I learned a person could fly without leaving the ground. He made me brave.

Not that he didn’t knock me on my ass every now and again.

No love is perfect and all love takes a little work.

I had to learn that he wasn’t a toy and he simply wasn’t going to bend to my every whim. And I had to learn to stand my ground. Occasionally we both needed to compromise.

But as first love goes, he was the best example and I compared every horse to him.

As I grew and changed, so did my horses. Each horse taught me something I didn’t know before. Some taught me its better to go slow and be on the look out for danger, one taught me that speed is a gift that you should never take for granted, and one taught me that no matter how badly you want to be a wild it’s okay to be tame.

And each one left me a better than I was before.

I think that’s all anyone can ask for at the end of the day. Leave every one a little better than when you found them.