My childhood was filled with magic. I had magic carrot seeds that grew overnight. I had a baby Jesus night-light that moved when the room got dark or those magic clowns that no matter how many times I stuffed them in the linen closet, ended up right back in my room the very next day. I had memories of past lives and different mothers (that went over really well with my mom). And I had seen fairy horses; you know small little horses that fairies ride. And of course I believed in fairies…
Most of the childhood magic was demystified in my teens and early adulthood. My dad told me the real story or I forgot or I figured out that maybe I just thought the baby jesus nightlight moved because it was creepy and I always found it creepy.
Well, this story is about those fairy horses and a Machiavellian plot of Jeff’s similar to that of a Heather-Locklear-made-for-TV movie.
It all started when I was about seven. A drive to my mother’s best friend Kitty’s house in the country had my family on a long drive through the hills of the East Bay. Jeff was asleep in his car seat and my parents were in some sort of heated discussion. I was looking out the window when I saw them. A herd of the smallest, yet perfectly formed horses I had ever seen. A whole bunch of them frolicking and playing on the hillsides. By the time I got my parents’ attention, we had passed them and they had no idea what I was talking about. My dad suggested ponies, but I had ridden on ponies. Ponies were fat and slow and disgruntled. These horses looked wild and happy.
My parents thought nothing more of it and continued their conversation. Jeff slept on in his sweaty kid sleep and I thought about the horses until I got my head around it.
I had seen fairy horses. My parents couldn’t see them because they were adults. I could see them because I was a kid and fairies were known to show themselves to special kids. Satisfied with my glimpse in the magical realm of fairies, I put my special memory away and focused on the killer sheep at Kitty and Mark’s farm.
Kitty and Mark had the Orcas of the sheep world. Pearl and Ben would lie in wait looking docile and sweet, sheep-like really, until I moved near the pen. Then they would charge, ready to tear out the tongue of a human child for fun. Most of my memories of that farm include terror-induced sprints away from sheep or chickens or the piranha-like guinea pigs or the fire ant hill by the propane tank. Oh yes, the farm was filled with fun and frolic.
So life moved on and the memory of the fairy horses became more and more distant. I grew up and never thought about them again until one summer day, driving through the Sonoma hills with my brother. I was 28 at the time.
“Oh my god Jeff, do you see them? It’s the fairy horses. Oh my god, pull over Jeff, quick!”
Did Jeff pull over? No. Did Jeff see them? No. By the time I got his attention, we had passed the field and he refused to go back. He said we would see them on the way home since we had to take the same route back. Did we see them on the way back? NO.
Jeff told me they were ponies or baby horses. It’s all in the marketing, right. The moment I said fairy horse, he was gone. Jeff is a little sore about the whole horse thing anyway. We took riding lessons when we were kids and he had to ride a pony while I got to ride a full sized horse. I might have had some influence over the size of his horse. He still remains bitter over that to this day, so you can see his motivation in this gaslight.
So began the crusade. I looked mini horses up on the Internet and sent Jeff pictures. He would respond with two words – “photo shopped”. I read up about them and told Sparky about my quest. Sparky laughed and said he thought I was sweet for still believing.
Okay. Yes, I still called them fairy horses, but I did not believe that small, winged creatures rode them (maybe in the back of my mind I still did, but certainly not in conversation and certainly not in my argument that these miniature horses exist).
I watched every local parade, looking for a cart horse, I forwarded every video clip and in life’s great irony, I would see these small horses just as they turned a corner so that only the back of the cart was visible before I could get anyone to look.
Soon, the fairy horse became a family joke. If someone told a tall tale, someone else would suggest that maybe the fairy horses were there too. Fairy horses became synonymous with “big fat lie”. My sister got in on the act and my dad, too. Sparky was so already there, petting the top of my head and smiling every time I brought it up.
I know, why was it so important that someone believe me? Why didn’t I just let it go secure with my own knowledge? Well, I just don’t work that way.
In October I got on the Internet, found a Miniature Horse Association and ranches in the Bay Area. I found a guy named John in a town near where my sister lives. I actually found some great big ranches in Sonoma County, (funnily enough close to where I saw them with Jeff that first time, huh) but during my single days I uh, played my way through that county. And there might have been a party that might have included too much tequila, a guy named Trooper, an SUV, a milking stool and water main. Later, I heard that this farm had mini horses. I really didn’t want to return to the scene of that crime.
So I told John the story and he wholeheartedly encouraged me to bring the wonder twins over. I told him it was a surprise because the last time I tried to get Jeff to go to the Mini Horse show, he refused to go.
I told the twins we were going paintball shooting. Jeff was really excited. Mim was too, except she didn’t want to run or move or get hit by a paintball. She basically wanted to sit on BASE and shoot Jeff and me without retribution. Nice. I was so sad for her when it turned out to be mini horses and not paintball shooting, let me tell you.
So the day came and as we pulled up in front of John’s red and white house, Jeff figured that we might not be going paintball shooting.
Mim figured it out when John said he was going to get them out. She whispered to Jeff as we walked out behind the house. She’s a clever one.
Right there stood two miniature horses. One was 32 inches tall and the other (the male) was 36 inches. They were all bushy and furry with their winter coats.
However cute they were came in second to the look on Jeff’s face. One, he couldn’t believe I had tricked him. I’m usually a really bad liar and this ruse had taken a few with double-back lies and playing Mim off Jeff and vice verse.
Two, there was no way he could deny the mini horse. Quicksilver was right there in front of him and John, the horse guy was giving us a lecture on the breed.