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You Can't Have All the Things You Love

Sunday, January 3, 2010

On our walk down Dean's Fork, our wandering horse friends come out to meet us, ignoring their shorted-out electric fencing. They have the run of the road, as the random piles of horsebockie attest.

Another pretty pair. The mare's a nice Appaloosa. Some people say they're not the sharpest knives in the drawer, but she seems both wise and kind.

What's lovelier than a young girl and a horse, talking?

If it weren't for the vet and food and shoeing and housing and fencing costs; if it weren't for the possibility of busted kid limbs and heads, heck, I'd have a couple of horses around. I love 'em. More than that, I love to love other people's horses. Having once been part-owner of a boat, I'd put hosses and boats in the same category. Sure, I'd love a ride on yours, thank you! And then when the engine (pastern, hoof, fence, barn) breaks down, you can be the one to fix it...

I could never understand why my dad wouldn't get me that horse I was dying to have. And now I do, oh how I do. It's one of those things that you can't grasp until you're in your parents' shoes, like wondering why your mom hated to see 14-year-old you take off alone on a 20-mile ride through the Virginia countryside on your ten-speed. What's the problem? you wondered. Why is she being so stern and worried? I'm FINE. Speedy! Alert! Immortal!

Dad, can I have a horse?

Farther on down the road, Jake found a stop sign, stolen from somewhere, lying in the ditch. All his switchboard lights lit up. He wanted it for his room.

Here they came down the road, carrying the dreadfully heavy sign. Click click click, aggh what a shot!

Liam's helping.
In the end we decided it was too heavy to carry the next mile. Whew. Not to mention that it's punishable by law to have a stop sign, even a found one, in your bedroom...

Back to the stream and the woods.

The Dean's Fork redtail circled, throwing spears down at us

and Cooper smiled in the sun.

Happy birthday, Shila, BFF, appreciator of all good things, fellow child trying to get in touch with her inner adult! What will the new year hold for you? Walks down Dean's Fork: a lock.


Young girls and horses ... when I was little, I wanted a moose. That's what you get for growing up in Newfoundland. On Sunday nights, driving home along the highway from my Aunt Sadie's, my dad was watchful for moose. Innocent of what a moose on the highway meant, I always hoped we would meet one and bring it home to our backyard, which I was certain was big enough for it ...

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You can't always get what you want. But if you try sometimes, you just might find, you get what you need.

Great post. When I read the title I thought it was going to be a downer but I should have known better. The photos of Phoebe with the horse are fabulous, and the three kids carrying the sign is a treasure.

I remember fourteen. I was bullet-proof and invisible.

Posted by Anonymous January 3, 2010 at 4:15 PM

No one dreams of owning a horse more than a little girl growing up on a big city block. I wanted a Morgan horse - don't remember why.

Those images of Phoebe and the horse show a young lady so in touch with nature! In her element!

Yes, 14 year olds - know-it-alls!

A beautiful place. All so nice. Makes me wanna take a big sigh...

Well put ... the horse-boat ownership philosophy. Very true.
Both are expensive and not ridden near as much as the owner imagined while dreaming of ownership.

Those are mighty fine domesticated horses ya' got there.

Those kids are going to grow up packed full of wonderful memories.
Well done.

OH Julie--the photos of Phoebe and the horse are enough to make me get out my pastels and sketch away. What a photogenic series.
I am so totally partial to girls with red hair--


Oh, you took the sigh of horselove right out of my mouth! I wanted--I still want--an Appaloosa. (Actually, I'd like a small herd. You can come riding at my place once I get them.) As a young girl, I wanted to be a Boy Scout, and horses were too feminine for me. Then something clicked, and I will never let anyone deter me from someday having my own (that, and a treehouse. You know, from which I can swing down onto the back of my horse.)

All equine rhapsodizing aside, these photos are gorgeous. The one of Cooper the Cattle Dog should be in a calendar; the kid captures are so spirited. I love how you devote several different blog posts to the same walk--subjects like this shouldn't be rushed.

I'm still so thrilled you've decided to keep on posting :) Thanks for making me smile and yearn and sigh, yet again.

Do Phoebe's future husband a favor and let her take riding lessons and maybe lease a horse at someone else's barn now. Otherwise, your future son-in-law will come back to you moaning when she has her midlife crisis and goes out and buys one for herself. A Morgan because she read Justin Morgan Had A Horse when she was a girl. He will thank you for letting her get it out of her system now! Just ask my husband. Beautiful photos and great stories told.

Julie, this post and the last one... they blew me away. I love how you captured the distinct personalities of each of the kids: Liam's carefulness, Phoebe's gentleness, Jake's determination (just look at the intensity on his face while carrying that stop sign!). How wonderful that they can all let go and just be themselves.

I am still waiting for my horse. When my youngest is gone, I will get one. I don't care about the costs (we have the space), the vet, feed, etc. I waste enough time on the computer that could be spent riding and that's what I want to do. Just as you looked at your tower and didn't mind the cost for the joy it would bring you, I feel the same way about horses, always and forever.

People said the same thing about getting a pool -oh, you'll use it a few times and then it becomes a burden. My sons and I are water people, by Memorial Day we are in it and we don't close it until around the first of Oct. Kids are in it with their friends at 1am on hot summer nights. It was and is, so totally worth it. And so will my horse be, when I get him!

Hope you're planning to make a large print of that photo of Phoebe with the lovely horse. It's wonderful.

Island Rider is right -- a horse has been my midlife crisis. On the other hand, it's something I share with my mouthy, snarky, bossy middle daughter who otherwise considers me dead weight. Worth it for that alone. Maybe you and Phoebe should find a horse you can lease? That way the upkeep and so forth are greatly lessened.

Hate to break it to you Momma, but that "young girl" is growing into a young woman. Not to worry, you still have Sir Bacon to baby.

That photo of Liam helping cracks me up!

Yeah, the helping one is a classic. It looks as if Liam went from resolve to resignation in record time.

We lived in military housing when I was a child. My pleads for a pony owned by a friend of ours out in the country (the pony's name was Shadow) landed on deaf ears of course. Knowing how silly it sounded even as I said it, I insisted we could keep the sweet little animal in the bath-tub. My husband thinks that is one of the cutest stories about me as a little girl! :-) Oh, well, no horse, ever, but I long since lost the desire for one. As you said....sometimes not being able to have what you want is a blessing.....

Julie, love your post with the kids and dogs, only wish we lived closer, would love to go for a walk down Dean's Fork with you all. It always looks so peacefull, I'm sure spring time would be great and even now because everything would be frozen. Wishing you, Bill and the kids a Happy, Healthy New Year. Jeanne

Posted by Anonymous January 4, 2010 at 4:47 PM

Great post and great photos of the kids and the horses. What a peaceful day. Your children will treasure the memories of these simple, ordinary days and remember how their mom had time just to be with them. Good for you.

There's a painting, or three, in there.

Hi Julie, I didn't know those horses were still on Dean's Fork. Yea, people say Appaloosas are stupid, stubborn and all sorts of things but they aren't. Some of them just have their own agenda, just like people! LOL
From the first time I remember seeing a horse, 3 years old, I wanted one. At 10 I got one, had him 11 years. Got another one at 23 had her 12 years, then for 20 years didn't have one and felt like a piece of me was missing. Then came Gilly and I wondered how I ever lived without him. Expensive, well maybe, lots of work, yes but I love it and now I have Pokey the donkey more work but I don't care. BTW you need to bring the kids down to see Pokey!
If Phoebe has been bitten by the horse bug it may wax and wane but it never goes away and there is no vaccine for it!
Love your photos always wonderful!
your over the hill neighbor....wait, wait I don't mean I'm over the hill....LOL I live over the hill

Here's my chime-in on the loveliness of the pictures of Phoebe and the Appalloosa . . . of all the pictures, in fact.

Great-uncle Frederick Zickefoose in Rossville, Kansas, had horses; he was a horse vet, in fact. My mom told me when I was little he didn't have an unbroken bone in his body, from being thrown, stepped on, kicked, you name it. That might have been a slight exaggeration . . . her way of keeping any of us kids from wanting horses, too?

My dad had a friend who had horses and simply 'trail rode' all the time. I used to get up early on Sat mornings just to ride with her all day. One of my greatest memories is the weekend she took me on a trail ride with her and about 7 other people. We trailered the horses to a state park and rode for 3 days from sunup to sundown. I was probably 13 and still recall every magical moment.

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I wanted a horse so badly as a teen--but suburbia didn't allow it.
Every afternoon, I'd walk to one of the old farms in the area, watch the owner muck out the stalls and head down the trail on her horse. After a while I got up the courage to offer her help--and she took it.
For several years I shoveled the pitted wooden floorboards and scooped sweet feed, knocked the ice off frozen pails and primed the old pump in her barn.
Then one spring, she took me on the trail. And left the barn in my care while she was away.
I rode all through high school--on someone else's horse. I was that immortal child.

The people who have said that Appaloosa horses are not the sharpest knives in the drawer are narrow minded and racist! I grew up with many horses and was on the back of one every day. My best friend with whom I grew up was an Appaloosa gelding named Sky, he was the smartest, most intelligent, lovely being I've ever known. We ran like fools through my teenage years and into adulthood and were totally in tune with each other. His brown ears had white tips and I knew exactly what he was thinking just from their position. The best one was when he was moving forward but one ear would be pointed back towards me on his back to hear what I was telling him. Sky lived to be 31 years old and I still bawl sometimes because he's gone. If you gave Phoebe a horse to love you could be giving her the best gift of her life.

Pass a birthday hug onto Shila for me.

I wanted a horse as a young child.... then at 11 I got one. I learned quickly how much work it was, but to this day some of my fondest memories are of running through the open fields on the back of "Spirit". Children will find a way to get bruises, break bones and fall down without the help from anyone or anything else. I say, let them get bumps and bruises. It will build character and give them memories for a lifetime.

I was raised in Rossville, KS, and I knew your great uncle Frederick Zickefoose. I went to high school with his kids Sam and Jane. I just talked to his 95 year old widow, Christina, a few months ago.
While "Doc Zickefoose" worked on horses, he also attended to cattle. I think the part about "every bone in his body being broken" is a gross exaggeration, but he likely had a few broken bones.
If you would like to contact Christina, Sam or Jane, you can e-mail me at

Posted by Anonymous April 23, 2010 at 2:12 PM
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