My first horse wasn't a bay or a gray or even a chestnut. My first horse was a dark plastic steed mounted on steel springs within a wooden frame. The toy horse is pictured next to me (yes, I'm the one with the pouty face and NOT wanting my picture taken) in the photo of me and my three siblings. I believe I'm in kindergarten or first grade.
I remember riding the plastic horse for hours when I was even younger than my little sister is in the photo. My mother would set me on "his" saddle and off I'd ride, until it was time to eat or do something else. Now, I never wanted to dismount him. I would put up a huge fuss if I felt I hadn't had enough time riding him. I recall my mother trying to peel me off of him late one morning. I hung onto his wooden handles, dragging him along, until she pried my fingers off of them. She said something like, "You can ride him later. You need to eat lunch!" Maybe I didn't believe her. I wanted to keep riding instead of eating. My mother often told me when I was older that she never had to worry about where I was. She would always find me riding him, content to be nowhere else but on the back of that plastic steed.
As you can see in the photo, I outgrew my trusty steed and passed him onto my younger sister, who never rode him as much as I did. I think he was eventually sent along to another young child equally bitten by the "horse bug" as I was. I loved that horse, even though he was man-made. He gave me the chance to imagine what it would be like to ride a real horse one day, which would come in a few years from the date of this photo.
I think my parents always wanted me to outgrow my born-with-a-passion I had (okay, have yet) for horses. I won't ever. They still move my heart and soul.