"If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?"
~ Matthew 7:11 ~
One of my greatest pleasures in life has been owning horses, and my sweet husband has been incredibly indulgent in allowing me to do so for the past 30 years. Many dairy farmers wouldn't hear of such a thing, after all, "They're hay burners!". Though they make extra work for Paul, with him having to bale more hay than he already does for the cows, and though they come with other expenses, like farrier and vet, he's always been amazingly generous in indulging me in this luxury.
It all started soon after we wed in 1984 when he allowed me to buy a young, green colt named Cody. Shortly after, as we were in the barn milking together, I looked up to see him gazing out the window toward the paddock. I asked him what was on his mind and he replied, "Oh, just thinking about how much pleasure it gives me to fulfil a dream of yours." That's Paul... always kind, always giving, always thinking of my needs and even many of my wants, more often than not putting himself out for me. He's the same with our children, he's such a kind and loving daddy.
Today we own six horses. Well, technically we own three horses and three ponies. We've had others over the years as well, some of which have died and are buried in our horse graveyard up under the gnarly ol' pine on the ridge near the gravel pit. Paul's even indulged me there, I never could stand the thought of sending a horse on the dead stock truck.
Two of our ponies are more recent acquisitions, we bought them just this past December so each of the girls would have their own to ride, and if I haven't made clear just how indulgent Paul's been to his gaggle of girls, this'll surely drive home the point. The man drove us six hours north, all the way up to Temiskaming, Ontario, to get one of them, and that during some of the most bitterly cold weather! And then, on another brutally cold December day, Paul drove us three hours northwest of here to purchase yet another pony.
Our Temiskaming gal is Bo, short for "Boutique", a lovely nine year old bay-coloured Welsh Cob pony. Our second December purchase is a cute wee grey and white paint Cob which the girls named Puddles, barely three years old now and just green broke, though coming along very nicely. In addition to those, we've got Teddy Bear, our 21 year old black Icelandic pony; Mischief, or "Mistivios Bar", our 14 year old dun Quarter Horse mare who was born here on the farm and is our "steady Eddie"; Valour, or if you want to get fancy, "Tivios Valiente", Bethany's two year old Azteca colt, also born here and son of Mischief and a gorgeous Andalusian stallion; and Breezy, Bethany's other "project", a sweet five year old, black Hanoverian-Oldenburg cross.
The girls spent the past two afternoons out riding. It's been such a joy to see them delight in these magnificent gifts from their dad. I thought I'd share a bunch of pictures and hope you enjoy them at least half as much as I enjoyed watching the girls have fun on their steeds... well, except for the part when the "sweet" five year old "project", Breezy, bucked Bethany off this morning. She's only got a month under saddle and that was last September, so today's ride found her a little "energetic", shall we say? Thankfully, Bethany's not much worse for wear, though she does have a bit of a sore neck. Brave girl, that daughter of mine, she was back in the saddle just a moment later. Can't say I'd be able to say the same if it was me. I think falling off an airborne 16.2 hand horse makes for a long fall and a hard landing!
"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning."
~ James 1:17 ~
The girls bringing their horses in from the field to prepare for riding.
Nope, not a bit happy about getting to ride "Teddy Bear".
After a long, cold winter, the horses are still shedding out and look pretty scraggly. They'll be sleek and lovely looking in just a few weeks, I'm sure, but in the meantime, there's lots of grooming to do.
Christmas gifts of matching saddle pads and halters, finally getting to use them.
Ride 'em, cowgirls!
"Settle down now..."
Very dignified... finally.
Taking the newbies out for a bit of a tour of some of the as yet unplanted fields, just to get them familiar with the place before the girls ride outside of the enclosed paddock.
How thankful I am for my husband, for the father of my children, and not merely because he's blessed us with so many good gifts, but because of his day-to-day selfless example of love, his tender patience, his kind benevolence, and most importantly, his unwavering faith and hope in the Lord Jesus Christ. He is my good gift!