My Life, Without a Horse – by cA Hughes


When I was five, I wanted a tree swing; also a pony.I would fantasize about it, the pony I mean. I got the tree swing. I sat on it while daydreaming about the pony. Her name would be Cinnamon, as her coat was that same red/orangey-brown color as the spice and she’d have a black mane and tail. My feet’d be muddy and walking her around through tallish grasses.

Gnats and butterflies and dust would dot the air, flecks of gold cresting and dipping in summery sunlight.

Even I, in my imagined yet still filthy gingham, would look lovely and hardy in the country light with Cinnamon in a stately follow.

Straddling Cinnamon, I was happy.Behind my closed eyes, I’d rest my face against her neck and tangle my stubby fingers in her mane. I was hypnotized by the heavy, hollow thud of her hoof-falls as we meandered through the countryside.We communicated in our secret way; she knew me by scent; my breathing, the rise and fall and squeakiness of my voice soothed her spirit. And she’d buck anyone else who attempted to ride, brush or feed her.

She would be mine and only mine.This was the best part because in my life without a horse, there was nothing mine.

I don’t know where this desire for a horse came from. We lived in the city. There were no tall grass fields or creeks or beautiful summer days hazy with shining little bugs that looked like fairies in the setting sunlight. No stands of trees aged with gnarled branches. “Where would we keep a horse?” asked Mother.I said in the garage, desperate. “That would be cruel,” she said. Then her eyes glazed over with a dreamy shine. “Horses need to be in a field, they need to run and graze and have sun on their backs…”

I put a horse on my Christmas lists and asked for one each birthday for the next six years.

“Where did she get such an idea?” My father asked Mother once. He was upset that I had been giving them the silent treatment for three straight days after my seventh birthday.

“All little girls want a horse,” she said.

He chuckled at that. “And why is that?” he asked.

My mother got red in the cheeks and I saw a dark, quick flicker in her eyes- so quick I doubted it the moment I saw it. It happened sometimes, mostly when she was talking to Father about us girls. “They just do,” she said.

I think she was right about that. My daughters have been pleading with their dad and me to get a horse. “Maybe someday,” I say. It is possible since we live in the country. We take walks on streets along the horse ranches nearby and I think, We can get a horse and keep it at a stables. I ask them what they think of the name Cinnamon for a horse.

“I like it,” says the older one.

“Aw, I like Fred,” says the younger.

“Maybe we should get two,” the older says.”Then I can name mine Roses”

“How about three?” say I. “Cinnamon, Roses and Fred.” We like this idea and discuss what our horses would look like- the color of their manes and coats, whether we’d braid their tails with ribbon.

The books I’ve read in which girls had horses, there is no boy-craziness. The girl with a horse does not need anybody. She is independent and free, strong like the legs of her steed. And though beautiful and ethereal, horses do seem somewhat phallic; look at the neck, look at the long face broad at the top; look at how they must be straddled and ridden. A girl conquers the phallus, astride her steed. It can take her to her life; take her away from her life. She is control of her destination and the route there. She is not a princess but a queen. She is not a queen but an outlaw. She is not an outlaw but an explorer, a knight, a cowboy. All of these things and natural and wild.


copyright cA Hughes

10 thoughts on “My Life, Without a Horse – by cA Hughes

  1. The books I’ve read in which girls had horses, there is no boy-craziness.
    Sign me up for three.

    All kidding aside, very quaint little vignette.
    I liked this and your palpable desire for a dream.
    Seems there’s much more to this than meets the eye and though I’m not exactly sure what it is, it’s incredibly deep; in your soul deep.
    Well done, cA


  2. Christine,
    Girls and their horses. Like men and their guns.
    …here is an excerpt from an email I got 9 minutes ago from my wife:
    “Hannah has it in her head today that she IS getting a real pony. She got her piggy bank out to see if she has enough money. She is wondering how you will get it in the back of your truck. Oh, she also wrote you a note and stuck it on the fridge asking you to get her a real pony.”
    I replied:
    How much are they ?
    How much was in the piggy bank?
    I think between this post and the email, the universe is conspiring against me!


  3. hi christine,
    i agree with michael…it does speak to something deep in your soul. but i feel that way about all of your writing.

    you are a very talented writer and i love to get lost in your words. i’m really glad that you did this post.


  4. i’m very happy that you all enjoyed it and i thank Writer Chick for the opportunity to post here on her fabulous page.

    Thanks for reading and commenting. It swells my heart.



  5. Hi Christine,
    I just wanted to say thanks for writing such a lovely post and gracing my place with your beautiful words. It’s about time I had something classy on here.

    I loved the post, and hope you’ll consider doing it again sometime. I’d be honored if you did.

    Much love,


  6. June 13th? And I’m just now getting over here? Oy vey. Well, it’s all just wonderful. Wonderful prose. Wonderful host. Thank you both. Really lovely. Now, about that synopsis…?

    Hi CJ,
    Thanks for mosying over here. I think Christine did a spectacular job with the piece and I was thrilled to post it here. And any ol’ time you’d like to do a guest post, just let me know. That would be a hoot.

    The synopsis is done and I’m moving onto my next step in the process. Researching agents for the book. Ah…progress. Thanks for the nag and stopping by.


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