For a period of time between 4th grade and 6th grade, Charlotte and Gabby’s relationship rested tenuously on a shared interest in horses. Did you read Misty of Chincoteague? Did you own the VHS tape of Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron? Amateur. Go pet a police horse with the other posers.
We. loved. horses.
You know that girl in your elementary school? The one with the horse-themed charm bracelet? The one who would neigh softly while running laps in gym class? We were both that girl. Seven-year-old Gabby once wrote a two-page “novel” about three young mustang foals who went on an adventure. One of them tragically died, which was commemorated with a ballad, to be sung by one of the surviving colts.¹ Charlotte’s copycat “novel” included the twist of not revealing that the main characters were horses until the last line.
Both of us dreamed of becoming professional equestrians. We trained vigorously, signing up for the weekly horse elective at summer camp and taking hour-long pony-riding lessons in Cape Cod once every two years as pictured above. Clearly one of us took it more seriously.²
As we grew older, however, adolescent apathy and fears of being kicked in the face took hold. Charlotte’s passions were abruptly dampened after being bitten by a horse at Colonial Williamsburg. Gabby’s road to recovery was bumpier, but after being pulled aside by her 5th grade teacher and told that she was no longer allowed to exclusively read books with animal protagonists, she could never quite reignite the spark.
See below, Gabby and Charlotte after a riding lesson. Gabby is overwhelmed by her emotions about horses. Charlotte looks on in equine solidarity.
¹Gabby would like to note that she remembers all the lyrics to this ballad, but would not let Charlotte include them because addiction is an ongoing battle.
²Charlotte would like to note that she was never as obsessed with horses as Gabby was.³
³Gabby would like to note that Charlotte should keep her judgemental mouth shut.
My favorite after-school activity was playing “Horses” in the backyard of our neighbors where we would pretend to drink maple syrup from bird baths and then sometimes forget we were horses and sing along to a Kenny Rogers cassette on the swingset.