Horses for Dagne

Since Dagne could first indicate her preferences, it’s been
horses. She started neighing, nickering, and whinnying before she could talk.
Before she could walk, her wrists were making horses gallop across
tables, carpets, counters and walls. For Christmases and birthdays, she
requested horse figurines of all sizes, stuffed animal horses, horse books,
horse pictures, and horse outfits. Each Halloween costume alternated between
rodeo queens and cowgirls. Her drawings consisted of … you guessed it … horses.

This desire to be with horses has emerged without any prompting, other than mildly granting requests when it seemed appropriate. The passion seems God-given and God-placed because it’s been so un-encouraged. There was about a week when I wondered if it was a phase. She asked for lions and dogs rather than horses. But it was the week that was the phase. The horses remained a permanent fixation.

Every few days, I’ll find her crying, because she wants her own horse. When I listen to her prattle to Ingrid, it’s about barrel racing or posting (a word which I’m unsure of its meaning). During pretend, she’s either a) a horse or b) riding one. She does this cute little Monte Python stumble that is a good imitation of an impatient horse not wanting to stop when its master is asking it to.

Getting a horse is out of the question. We have no permanent, secure jobs. In a few months, we may be without a home. We don’t know where we will be by the summer. Horses are expensive, impractical, and difficult to take with
you anywhere. For a couple who wants to travel, obtaining a horse is unsound decision-making.

But what does a wandering, bohemian couple do with a
down-home, country cowgirl for a daughter? Her sense of identity at seven is
stronger than ours at 38. What do we do with that?

Answer: I have no idea.

I prayed about it. I thanked God for my beautiful Little-Little-Brown-Eyes. I asked Him, “Lord, you made this little girl and you gave her to us to raise her. We don’t have the money or time to handle all this passion for horses. We’re going to need your help.” Then, I told Dagne that she needed to pray for what she needed.

At the Groc-Out (short for Grocery Outlet), there’s a darling, young woman named Amy who works there. I attended her graduation and remembered
that her story was similar to Dagne’s – loving horses from the beginning in a
family that had no abilities or inclination to provide for it. She has a horse
now – got one when she was 13. I shared about Dagne and she invited her and
Ingrid to come and ride. So, we went. Next week, she leaves for an interview on
a ranch in Washington. She’ll be working with horses and kids.

Then, I did some research on the Crystal Peaks Ranch – a ranch
near Sisters that rescues abused horses and couples them with abused kids for
therapy. They also open the ranch for other kids to ride. I asked to sign them up but they were full. I got on the waiting list. We got a call right
away. I’m now waiting for them to complete an hour and a half riding session
with a couple of volunteers. There is a view of the seven mountains. The ranch
is organized, serene, and friendly. It feels like a place of healing and hope.

The girls spend most of their time telling the volunteers all about their Auntie Anne and her rescued mustang named Annie. They chatter about it and act knowingly around the horses, informing them how their Auntie teaches them all about horses and how to work with them.

As I write this post, I realize that it only takes a few opportunities for a dream to blossom. I watch Dagne’s eager face as she spends time with a horse. It looks like those moments feed her soul. A place deep within her is touched. I am grateful.


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