The Horse That Built Me: Junior
I’d never seen a prettier horse. I had to have him. He had to be mine.
Miranda Lambert penned a song about the house that built her. The lyrics portray her revisiting her childhood home to collect old memories – hoping that by touching the place she grew up, and reliving milestones in her life, she could stitch the pieces together to find herself.
This summer, I’ve attempted to revisit the horses that built me. The horses that I’ve owned and leased over the course of my life. The horses who shaped my experiences, personality, and childhood. I wanted to take their portraits to immortalize the memories I have with them.
Junior was grazing in our pasture the first time I saw him. My next door neighbor owned him and turned him out daily in the field she leased from us. Stepping up from Raz I wanted bigger/better/fancier and he was all of the above. I was in the 8th grade.
Junior didn’t last long. To be truthful, we just didn’t get along. Funny how there are some horses you can “click” with and others that collide. I had him long enough to take him to the county fair and one horse show when it was clear that we weren’t the right match for each other. I was too blinded by his beauty to understand there were other qualities about a horse that mattered… that a horse’s personality is just as real as a human’s.
Junior walked into my life at a time that I was pretty fragile and so he still held an important role in building and teaching me. The end of 8th grade was hard for me because… middle school sucked. And I remember more than one occasion of crying into his long, blonde mane. We didn’t make good teammates, but that didn’t mean we weren’t friends. I’ll spare you the middle school drama, but he was there for me when my human friends weren’t. He took care of me.
A lot of little girls go through the ‘horse-crazy’ stage, but there are quite a few of us who never leave that stage. It isn’t a stage at all, it is who we are. But why? Why does the sight of a horse make me giddy inside? Why do I need to check the inside of every horse trailer I pass on the freeway? Why do I light up when I meet someone else who rides horses? Why do I compulsively kiss the muzzle of every horse I walk by?
My only conclusion is that I love horses because Jesus loves horses.
That is the best explanation I could come up with. I love horses because God loves horses. There are many references to equines (donkeys included) in the Bible, but a few of my favorites listed below show that throughout history horses have been an enormous blessing to humans. Horses are presented throughout scripture in some pretty spectacular ways…
First, God’s Dissertation to Job in Job 39:
“Do you give the horse his might? Do you clothe his neck with a mane? Do you make him leap like the locust? His majestic snorting is terrifying. He paws in the valley and exults in his strength; he goes out to meet the weapons. He laughs at fear and is not dismayed; he does not turn back from the sword. Upon him rattle the quiver, the flashing spear, and the javelin.”
Second, Jesus was born in a manger. I am going to assume that was in a barn and there were horses somewhere nearby, lol.
Third, Jesus comes back on a horse in Revelation 19:
“Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron.”
*The one above gives me the most hope that there are horses in heaven because Jesus comes back from heaven on a horse. Meaning the horse came from heaven, right?!?!*
The fact that Junior wasn’t the right horse for me didn’t make him any less of an amazing horse. Junior went on to be extremely successful for several new owners of his. A few years ago I saw him tagged in a Facebook post and contacted his new owner in a very creepy Facebook message (“Hi. Is your horse’s name Junior by any chance?”). I maintained contact as he was passed onto a new owner who used him as [the world’s most beautiful] rodeo queen’s horse. His current owner, Megan, was extremely gracious to not only let me come and photograph him for this project, but also to let me have MY pictures taken with him by Haley Graham Photography. I needed to update my photography ‘bio’ pictures and knew there was no better horse than the beautiful Junior to help me out!
Junior taught me a lot of things. Namely, that I love horses and I will always love horses, that God works through horses and speaks through horses, and that horses will forever be my greatest stress-reliever and therapy. Entire fields of science have been dedicated to researching equine-assisted psychotherapy, but if you have spent time around horses you understand they increase awareness of our own feelings and thoughts and they help us heal.
Stay tuned for the next post about Tahoe — the horse that made all of my dreams come true.