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A horse ride down memory lane

Grab your tissues. This week columnist Jessie Veeder shares a piece she wrote in the third grade about her horse Rindy.

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Jessie Veeder, "Coming Home" columnist.
Contributed / Jessie Veeder
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WATFORD CITY, N.D. — I would like to take a trip down memory lane because I stumbled upon a little gem of a piece of writing I crafted when I was a kid. I did plenty of writing as a kid. I have books of embarrassing poetry and stories, most never to see the light of day, but sometimes we were given writing assignments in school … and, well … I guess I just couldn’t hold back the emotion and theatrics housed in my little mind and I saw it as my time to expose my soul to the world.

In third grade.

So my gift to you, straight out of the archives, an early piece on the subject of friendship and love and animal whispering, all lessons learned from a beautiful, overweight and elderly mare who I loved dearly.

Get your tissues and be prepared to be moved beyond words.

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Rindy and a young Jessie Veeder
Jessie Veeder / The Forum

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Rindey and Me

By third grade Jessie Veeder (complete with spelling errors, including Rindy)

It all started when we moved out to the farm to help my grandma because my grandpa died and we had to keep the farm going. My dad was talking about a horse for me. He thought about Dell, my grandma’s horse but I said that I didn’t want that horse because it was grandma’s. Then my only choise was my grandpa’s horse because I had been riding her for a while and I liked her

That was a while ago and now I know everything about her. She knows how I’m feeling and I know how she’s feeling. If we are out working the cattle and I am scared I can see her eyes and feel her shaking beneath me. When I am happy we play games out in the pasture, or I just sit and talk to her. When she feels love she likes to hug and nudge. She always hates it when I leave. 

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Jessie Veeder runs the barrels with her horse Rindy.
Jessie Veeder / The Forum

We have had so many experiences together. Like the day she first ran poles. She did great. I never dreamed she could do that good, and to top it all it was her first time ever. I know why she did so good now, I had been talking to her about it for a while and she new what I was talking about. 

When I am bored or have had a bad day, all I have to do is go and catch her, find a rock to boost me on and we run like the wind. She loves to run. I cling to her like a burr until she slows down to a trot. Then I put her back and I just talk to her about what’s going to happen and when our next event is going to be and how we have to get ready for it. I write about her all the time, but just in phrases. This is the first time I have ever wrote about all my feelings towards her, and when she dies I know I will see her in heaven. And if we sell her I will go to my room and cry and cry. She is a part of me. She compleats me.  

Before I go any further I would like to point out that apparently it was me who coined the phrase “you complete me.” Take that Jerry Maguire. Moving on. Oh, the drama!

Reading this again as a grown woman with young daughters, I see where some of the extravagance of this story was likely taken from the horse movies and books I loved back then (“Wild Hearts Can’t be Broken” anyone?).

I can guarantee that old mare didn’t necessarily love to run like the wind, unless she was certain we were on our way back to the barn for grain. And we had a bond, but my nervousness out working cattle was based on whether or not I was going to accidentally let the wrong ones through the gate I was watching. Her nervousness was more likely a fit she was pitching because she was separated from the other horses. But that sounds less dramatic than “I can feel her shaking beneath me.”

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Oh Martha.

Also, it appears that third grade is where I developed the art of preparing for the worst case scenario as in my love letter to my horse I was also anticipating her imminent death. And I might have been the first horse whisperer to write about my successful experiences training the four legged beast to perform on command at such great speeds by, you know, talking it over with her.

What a sweet reminder of who we are before the world tells us to hold back a bit as I’m watching my daughters try to make sense of the world and their feelings and the people and things that they love.

In the times I find that I, too, am still searching, I’ve found it comforting to remember the 10-year-old version of me in her purple pants, fuzzy ponytail and trusty mare. And then sometimes, when I’m not paying attention I might see my reflection, my hair a wreck, my jeans dirty, my skin kissed by the weather with my hands and mind busy with work or play and it makes me realize that she’s still in there. And I’m glad.

Because I sorta liked her.


READ MORE OF JESSIE'S COMING HOME COLUMNS

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Greetings from the ranch in western North Dakota and thank you so much for reading. If you're interested in more stories and reflections on rural living, its characters, heartbreaks, triumphs, absurdity and what it means to live, love and parent in the middle of nowhere, check out more of my Coming Home columns below. As always, I love to hear from you! Get in touch at jessieveeder@gmail.com.

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Columnist Jessie Veeder reflects on the passage of time.

Related Topics: NORTH DAKOTAFAMILY
Jessie Veeder is a musician and writer living with her husband and daughters on a ranch near Watford City, N.D. She blogs at https://veederranch.com. Readers can reach her at jessieveeder@gmail.com.
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