When I was a youngster, still a child, probably a teenager, but just barely so, I would go to the state fair every year. Usually for my birthday, which always fell on one of the days of the fair.
I would ride a few rides, loved the carnival games, had to go to the livestock shows, and occasionally attend a concert.
I didn't have a horse of my own then.
The one ride I always rode, even though I was "much too old" for such silliness, was the Carousel.
My mother would always ask, "Really? You want to ride that? Seems kind of boring for a girl your age."
But I always did.
I would wait in line, watching as the little kids went round and round. I would look at all the horses, and choose which one would be mine. Then when it was my turn I would race to my chosen mount, hoping to get there before some snot nosed little urchin beat me to it.
Then the music would start and round and round we would go. For the first time around, sometimes even two times, I would see my parents, or grandparents, waving to me. I would sheepishly wave back, not wanting to be rude.
Then I would close my eyes, and the world would fall away. The sounds of the fair and the carousel music would fade off in the distance. I was no longer in the city at a fair, on a silly ride. I was a cowgirl, racing my pony across the open plain. My heart matched his hoof beats; his mane and my hair whipped in the wind as one. I would spread my arms wide as if I was flying (like Alec in the black stallion) and then I'd become a girl ship wrecked on an island, racing the only friend I had across the beach. My vision would change again, and I was the girl in Tam the Untamed, riding my silver horse through the Australian bush, with a herd of Brumbies on our heels....and bad men just a little further behind.
Then the ride would begin to slow and I was snapped back to reality. My dream for the day was over, but not really. In my mind the dream was right there, just a sigh away.
Just a girl and her horse.
It is truly all I ever wanted to be.