The large rambling mansion held bedrooms that boasted of ample sitting areas and soaking-tubs in each bathroom. It was a beautiful home and truly the talk of the town. If I was describing where I lived, I would say I am right near the big yellow mansion and then my home could be identified. Unfortunately its hefty price tag was too burdensome for most home owners. My riding students and their families would frequently gaze at the mansion next door that stood vacant for over eight years and fantasize over living right next door to what they considered a dream.
To my utter surprise it was bought by a young family with six children ranging in age from two to nine. Their mother is a tiny dynamo and she quickly shared why they chose to move from northern New Jersey to this little town in southern New Jersey, it was because it was next to horses. Her girls had begun to ride horses in northern New Jersey and they all seemed to have been bitten by the “horse bug” and it could only be satisfied by close proximity of a horse farm. It also helped that each of their back windows gazed out on my pastures where they could watch the horses daily.
The girls each enrolled in lessons and they would frequently ask if I needed help. Of course I needed help, and this little next-door-army of helping hands were eager to organize the riding ring for the special needs children that came from a local school or muck stalls.
Each one had something different to offer. The oldest, a determined young lady that soaked up everything that was taught. I would mention something in passing and she had it memorized. She was also eager to employ it, and I found myself giving her more responsibility each day. She was a child I could trust because she knew that this was an earned spot at the farm. The second to oldest child fell madly in love with our big Quarter Horse Paint. She would ask me if she could meet her goal of riding him. The day I allowed her on his back, she could not stop smiling or fawning over his massive body that glistened in the sun. She would explain every little nuisance of each lesson. She would critique how the horse did and how she handled it. She was the one that would explain each goal she had and whether she thought she could achieve it. The youngest one had an iron core. She was tiny but undeterred and the day that Milkshake decided to do a drive-thru and grab a quick bite to eat of the luscious grass when she was leading him back to the field demonstrated her grit, because he had stepped on her little foot. She squeaked and Milkshake quickly lifted his foot. She hobbled over to the chair and we put ice on it, but her face was set, she would never let a horse do that to her again.
Everything has a nickname here. After proving their unwavering devotion to the farm and our horses, we christened them THE NUGGETS. We have grown quite fond of their generous spirit and desire to do their best. It is quite refreshing to find children that love to please others.
They remind me of the verse in Galatians 5:13-
…..serve one another humbly in love.
They reflect what we all need to do for one another, seek to serve.
Do you know someone that has served you? Please share.