Although she loves to ride, Evie’s happiest lesson was spent chattering away with Sammy while the two of them enthusiastically spent the better part of an hour grooming every single hair on Cowgirl’s body. On her own, (Evie, who is seven) thinks she’s about to expire with the effort of lifting the brush up, to say nothing of actually grooming the horse. Most kids love a horse buddy, and Evie, third child of three, is no exception. She didn’t exactly throw herself on the ground this morning, but her disappointment at the lack of company was most apparent. “Where’s Claire?!” Then, more to herself, “Oh yeah, she’s in Tahoe.” A student at a private school, Evie had the day off and was pretty much alone in that condition.

After twenty minutes of sitting in the driveway and moping followed by twenty minutes of very reluctant but instructor required grooming, she did finally rally and begin to show some interest in actually getting on the horse. By the time we were on the trail, she had forgot her predicament and started to happily chatter along about any and all subjects. I learned that she loves Idaho (and wants to go back), thinks the best candy shops are in NYC and that her main passion in life is decorating the house for Christmas, which, from her lengthy description, must be a spectacular affair.

There was, eventually, a pause in her conversation. While she’d been talking, it had reminded me of what life was like for me at that age and how most of my time that age had been spent imagining myself riding on my imaginary horse. I took advantage of the pause to ask if she had an imaginary horse. Indeed she did. “My pretend horse is black and dark brown with black mixed in” (I think they call it black points; black on the lower legs and nose). This description was repeated several times with minor refinement. She then said, “Her name is Sugarplum. For Halloween she can dress up as a plum. She won’t have to wear a costume because she’s already plum colored.” I wanted to buy her a horse on the spot!

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