Ryon & Jesse

You can tell how serious Jesse is about horses by the shoes that he wears.  For his tenth birthday earlier this year, he asked for a pair of cowboy boots.  Don't tell him I said this but they are the cutest things I've seen, a mature burgundy pair but teeny tiny on his still child-sized feet.  For the rainy fall weather, Jesse's been rocking some duck shoes, waterproof to the ankle and ultra practical.  When all the cool kids at school are wearing the newest flashy Nikes or tweed Toms, Jesse has on his mud and muck covered-sh*tkickers.  During the summer, when school wasn't in session and when he wasn't at his mom's house, Jesse was at the barn almost every day, helping out his dad.  You see, Jesse's dad is a stable-hand and he is his dad's shadow.  We'd chat in the evenings after I would show up to ride Ryon.  He would always ask me in his own serious way, "So how was your day?  How is your family doing?"  Which would always make me giggle because 10-year olds aren't supposed to know how to make small talk.  Jesse would fill me in on the shenanigans that Ryon had pulled during the day, all the while patting his nose and feeding him hay.  "He was fighting with Bo today.  And he moves around a lot but not outside," he would explain gravely and I would nod and chastise Ryon quietly.  Jesse would then pop off after a 15 minute chat and show up later a little later in the middle of my ride, watching still and silent from the side, judging Ryon and my performance with his eyes.  And when I would leave at night, and at this time we would be in the thick of night and past the point of dusk or evening, Jesse would ask how my ride was and how Ryon behaved, while walking me to my car.

I asked him just once if he liked being at the barn, and he responded, "I like helping my dad.  But I really just love horses."

Jesse's been one of the only ones there with me when it was snowing and blowing outside and also when I would sneak in on Saturday nights to check in on the boys.  This fall, because of soccer practice and school, I've seen him less and typically only on the weekends.  However, his cheery attitude and gentle, yet firm, treatment of these massively majestic animals still inspires me on a daily basis and I would have no problem being known as Jesse's girl.