The stables where the horses were boarded was around the corner within walking distance of the townhouse. Every evening I went to the stables with Mom to help feed and water them.
After the horses had been fed, I often went into Jazon's stall and brushed him while he ate. I loved to kiss his soft nose and inhale his sweet, horsey scent.
With his beautifully arched neck, gray dappled coat and white silky mane and tail, Jazon was a handsome and flashy horse. Each time I looked into his intelligent eyes, my breath caught in my throat. He was just that beautiful.
As I ran the brush over his coat, I thought of Sunshine with sadness, and I hoped she hadn't forgotten me. I really missed her, and I hoped I would get to see her again someday.
Sometimes, if it wasn't too cold, Mom saddled up her horse, Quazar, and rode in the fields around the stables. Each time she rode, I watched her enviously wishing I could ride, too.
One day shortly after we moved, as I stood in Jazon's stall brushing him, I suddenly knew without a doubt that I could ride this young and spirited Arabian.
My fear of horses was gone.
- - -
When I told Mom that I wanted to ride Jazon, she looked at me skeptically, no doubt remembering Sunshine and all of the trouble she had gotten us in to. Jazon was a young horse, hot blooded and temperamental, and he required a skilled and confident rider. At nine years old, I was small for my age, but I was not the least bit worried about how I would handle him.
Finally Mom shrugged her shoulders and saddled Jazon up. After I got on his back, happiness and excitement washed over me like a warm and comforting blanket, and I couldn't stop smiling. Finally I was riding again!
Even though Jazon's saddle was too big for me and it made it hard to hang on when he spooked and tried to run, which was often, it didn't matter to me. I just hung on tight and laughed out loud at his silly antics. Nothing Jazon did scared me. He was a powerful horse and a challenge to ride, and I enjoyed every minute of it.
I loved Jazon with all of my heart, and I thought of him constantly.
- - -
Mom and I rode as much as we could that winter in the fields around the stables. Mom seemed happy to have a riding partner again, and I, of course, was happy to have a horse of my own to ride.
I loved to gallop Jazon through the fields around the barn. The wind rushed through my hair, my eyes watered in the bitter cold and the relentless wind gave me painful earaches, but that didn't matter to me when I was riding. Adrenaline surged through my veins and happiness washed over me as I leaned over his neck urging him to go faster, faster, faster. I felt on top of the world!
I couldn't get enough of Jazon. In my eyes he was the smartest and most beautiful horse I had ever seen. I couldn't believe he was all mine!
- - -
When I was riding, I was able to forget about the turmoil at home. From the moment I got to the stables, my depression and anxiety lifted, and I felt at peace. This rare feeling was addicting, and I wanted it to last forever. Unfortunately, as soon as we left the stables, the depression and anxiety once again weighed heavily upon my young shoulders.
I thought of Jazon constantly when I was not with him. When I was feeling particularly sad, I tried in vain to bring back the feeling of happiness and peace that I felt when I was riding. But each time I thought of my horse, I smiled, but the sadness remained.
Why did I feel so terrible all of the time? I must have done something very bad to feel like this. I just wish I knew what it was so I could fix it.