25 August, 2009


When I was a boy, I loved Mary O'Hara's book, My Friend Flicka. I read this book many times and privately wished for my own little Flicka. This book, Flicka, was like a soundtrack to my childhood. The book was a real adventure and the only chance for me at the time, to connect with horses. My Friend Flicka opened the door for other horse books and eventually, I read the sequel titled "Thunderhead", which tells the story of Flicka's son, sired by a champion Thoroughbred race horse.

A few weeks ago, I read this book again and now as an adult, I realized that a good part of this book deals not only with the financial struggle of making a horse breeding operation profitable; but also the resulting struggle between a husband and a wife, as the husband's dreams suddenly appear silly and hopeless. While written in the 1940's, this story is relevant for today's horse breeder, who struggles similarly as Rob McLaughlin struggled in keeping his dreams alive.

Rob began to shout. "What would it matter? It would matter like hell! I'm not an engineer any more - or a businessman. I came west and you came with me - just to raise horses!"
"What if you did? That was long ago. The thing you want to do now is not raise horses or any other special thing! Just to make a living and pay our bills!" "...raise horses because I was sure that up in this high altitude, in a section of lime country, the finest horses could be raised, with strong lungs and hearts and endurance-as surefooted as goats-that's what you need for polo-and I was right. I've proved..." The tirade continued, battering down all of Nell's attempts to answer. At last, she made no more, but sat silently waiting to get home.

It is interesting that almost 70 years ago, when horses enjoyed a bigger role in daily life than they do today, people experienced similar difficulties and yet in spite of tough times, people continued to believe in their dreams and worked hard to make them a reality. Times were tough then, as they are now and it is important for all of us to not become discouraged and become hopeless people. There is someone who is stronger and more powerful than any adversity that may befall us. We need to be more faithful. This is where the history of the past becomes extremely important as a teacher, inspiring us to persevere, to embrace hope, to be brave and NEVER lose our ability to dream.

Hang tough and enJoy your horses,

1 comment:

Tzviah said...

Dear Ralph,
What you wrote really touched me because Mary O'Hara's books have also been a 'soundtrack' to my life, and not only my childhood... every few months I seem to have this need to read at least one of them again. The one I choose seems to reflect what's going on in my inner life at the moment, and always leaves me more courageous and enlightened than before. Wish I could have met her, and do feel almost as if I know her.
All the best,