As a little girl, I was very dependent on my bottle, and at the age of 4, still lugged it around with me all of the time. My parents realized that an intervention was needed, and the bargaining began. When the dust settled, the bottle was gone, and I was the proud owner of a new pair of cowboy boots, important symbols of the equine world that I so identified with. My earliest memories are of horses--not dolls to play with, but plastic, life-like horses instead. My childhood from the age of six on was always with a horse in my life--friend, confidant, love object, and most importantly, giving me the freedom, whenever and wherever I wanted, to take off on my own.
On a trip to California to teach a workshop in the early nineties, I ended up staying with a couple who would become lifelong friends. Julie owned several horses, among them a very large German Warmblood called a Westfalen. Frisco was absolutely beautiful, but, enormous. I mean, enormous. We saddled him up and I rode him with Julie coaching me in basic dressage. It was a horse experience that I had never had before. His size and power were almost overwhelming, but at the same time, all the things I loved about riding, just magnified. Beauty, power, and strength all alive under my legs and seat, the horse being controlled by thin leather straps attached to his mouth(of course, being well trained, the bridle and rains were only a small part of my communication with him) with the ground a dizzying distance away. This image is from that day, Julie having been shrunk down to child size, and Frisco, so very large and powerful, yet still willing and ready to do whatever Julie asks of him.