When we were in elementary school, we all knew a girl who was obsessed with horses. I’m talking about that girl who liked horses so much that she spent most afternoons at recess pretending to be one. She galloped everywhere she went. She neighed non-stop. And she grew her hair out absurdly long so it would look like a mane. She was a Horse Girl, and she was, in a word, awesome.
But most of us didn’t see her awesomeness back then. Instead, we made fun of her because of her Fillyness. When she shook out her “mane,” we pulled it. When she pretended to sleep standing up, we tipped her over. When she said “hey,” we cleverly said “hay is for you!”
Perhaps we were outcasts ourselves and we were grateful to share the brunt of schoolyard bullying with someone else. Perhaps we never learned empathy from our parents. Or perhaps we went to a “ranch-themed” summer camp and damaged our testicles while riding a horse named Thunder. Regardless, we were assholes. For that, we owe you an apology, Horse Girls.
While the rest of us were making poor life choices, you were already living a healthy, robust life. When we were experimenting with marijuana that was actually seventy percent cloves, you were just saying Neigh. When we were spending another Friday night throwing up after breaking into our dad’s liquor cabinet, you were holding our hair and politely informing us that “horses can’t vomit.”
When we were smoking pot laced with crack cocaine that we bought from some tool named Chad outside that shitty 7-11 next to the freeway overpass, you were trying to see if you could run faster than Always Dreaming at the Kentucky Derby. Because, like that glorious thoroughbred, you were always dreaming too.
Back when most of us were worried about inopportune outbursts of acne, you were puffing up your chest and calling yourself “a majestic, noble creature.” That takes a kind of confidence that a lot of us still don’t have, even as adults.
So we hope our bullying didn’t extinguish your magnificent spirit. We hope you still remember how powerful it felt to LITERALLY SEE EVERYTHING (since, as you often reminded us back then, “horse eyes are on the sides of their heads so they basically have 360 degree peripheral vision”). And finally, we hope that when the depressing world we live in gets you down, you can remind yourself that, once upon a time, you went by the name Indomitable Spirit.
You may not be a Horse Girl anymore, but you can still be a Horse Woman. And for that, we salute you.