The Christmas I was five, my mom scrimped together the money she made from substitute teaching and bought me a horse. He was a scrubby colt coming on two in the spring, all beggar lice and ringworm. You know, the kind of horse you can get for $200. I didn't care. I named him Bug because the star on his forehead made him "cute as a bug" in my eyes. (Incidentally, this is what comes of allowing a 5-year-old to name a horse. I often repented of this juvenility during my more mature tween years, wherein I would alternately call him names better suited to the racetrack or romance novels, appellations like "Night's Shadow" and "Chestnut Glory.")
He was my best friend. During summers, my sister and I spent every day but Sunday (a horse's day of rest too) bridling Bug and Baby (the long suffering bay Sierra inherited from Dad) and then "driving" them from playhouse to playhouse. Other little kids had Barbie Ferrari's and electric G.I. Joe Jeeps--not us, we had horses and that was far better.
When I got old enough that college was looming over the horizon, I cooked up all sorts of schemes for taking Bug with me so we wouldn't be parted. They all cost way too much. So he stayed at the ranch and I went on my academic way. But one day, I determined, I would have a little girl who would ride Bug too and love him with my same love.
Well, owing to infertility's delays, I don't know that this last dream is realistic: Eden is so young and Bug so old. But during the two weeks we just spent in Colorado, I did get to give Eden her first horseback ride. And it's Bug who had that honor--I'd trust no other horse with such precious cargo as that. I think she liked his softness on the soles of her feet and the smooth rhythm of his gate.