I’m a firm believer that every little girl needs a big brother. Either by blood or by friendship we need them. That may just be because I have two awesome brothers, but it doesn’t change my opinion. We all need brothers who will come along side us, support us, and give us a boost when life’s challenges become too hard to bear alone. My constant encourager is my brother Matt. When I prayed about my birthday tribute to him I asked for guidance on what story God wanted me to share and he placed Shannon the horse on my heart.
Summers on the farm proved to get longer as we got older. As preteens we weren’t old enough to drive or have employment. When we weren’t picking rock for the neighbors our days were spent making our own fun. As kids of a cattle farmer we always wanted more. You know, the grass is always greener. We wanted a horse. Thankfully about a mile up the road our next door neighbor had an old horse that didn’t get much attention, so when the neighbor kids wanted to play with his horse he was more than happy to let us give her some much needed attention. Shannon was really old and extremely mild mannered but enjoyed when we would come to brush her or ride her around the property.
One day my sister and I walked up the road to find Matt playing “cowboy” with Shannon. Well, I guess it wasn’t cowboy so much as he has decided we should ride her bareback, no doubt like the Indians did in the movie Dances with Wolves. Matt convinced me this would be a good idea and proceeded to “teach” me how to grab Shannon’s mane and jump up on her. Well, I have always lacked in the muscle department so there was no possible way that I could jump onto that horse by myself. Matt then devised a plan. I would hold onto Shannon’s mane and put my foot into his intertwined fingers. He would give me a small boost while I swung my leg over the other side. I was determined to ride her bare back and he was a supportive big brother that didn’t want to see my dreams crushed.
And so it went, I stood on Shannon’s left side and grabbed her mane with my left hand. I used my right hand to balance myself on her body. Matt squatted down and intertwined his fingers into a low stirrup for me to stand in. I set my left foot in his hands. “Ready?” He asked. “1, 2, 3…” And I went flying over the horse!
“You were supposed to hold on!” He yelled. “How am I supposed to hold on when you launched me over the horse?” I yelled back.
I don’t know if I actually rode the horse that day. No doubt Matt laughed and I stormed off in a fit of rage. But one thing I know for sure, whenever I need a little encouragement, I always know who to call for a “boost”.