Season 1 Episode 1:  Fall Down; Cowgirl Up

One of my favorite childhood memories is my Sunday afternoon routine with my Granddaddy.  We would climb into his old Ford pickup truck and head to the Circle K store at the foot of our street.  I can remember being so excited to walk down the candy aisle in search of my favorite treats. After picking out a few Tootsie Rolls, Boston Baked Beans or those little colorful sugar dots on paper, I’d joyously take my sack of candy from the clerk, and we’d be on our way.  We drove for what seemed to be forever while I feasted on my delicious snacks, giving Grandaddy a Tootsie Roll since that was his favorite.  I can still smell the gas of his old carburetor mixed with the cloud of dirt that stirred up as he pulled the truck off the side of the road to our destination.  I would squeal with delight as I jumped out of the truck and ran up to the gate of the vast, green field. It was time to see the horses.

There’s something about a horse.  If you have ever spent any time around them, you know exactly what I mean.  Once a horse touches your soul, they never let go. Throughout my life I have held on to my infatuation of these grand, majestic creatures.  In my 20’s I even owned a couple and started taking lessons in barrel racing.  Unfortunately, this dream was cut short one night when I got a call from the barn.  My horse, Cowboy was rolling from colic, and we would have to transport him to Ocala to the nearest equine hospital. I called my mom and bonus dad and they met me at the barn.  When we got to the hospital, the vet on duty said that it could go either way.  I remember pacing for what seemed hours until she came back out to give the news that Cowboy did not make it. I was devastated.  There are no words that explain the feeling of driving two hours home with an empty trailer, leaving your best friend behind.

Well now that I have you all depressed, let’s fast forward to the present day. Life sometimes gets you down, but you gotta get back on that horse.  Although losing Cowboy ended my days as a horse owner, I’ve continued to ride whenever possible and introduced my daughter to the love of the gentle, yet strong animal. In our travels, we have ridden on top of dormant volcanoes in Hawaii and the snow-covered mountains of Colorado. This past week when she was home from college for spring break, we added a new horseback riding adventure to our list…. the beaches of Palm Coast.  Yes, I said Palm Coast!

My friend Jen owns Equestrian Adventures of Florida, so I called her up to see what rides she had to offer. To my delight, she had a beach ride set up for the next day!  My daughter Abbie and I have been wanting to ride on the beach but didn’t realize we could do it here in our own backyard.  We met Jen and our guide, Terry at Mala Compra Park on a perfect sunny Florida day.  We rode for an hour down the beach with the most heavenly view of the waves breaking onto the rocky shore.  The horses knew exactly where they were going and when to turn around. Beach goers gawked enviously at us as they took pictures. If I closed my eyes, I could feel myself as a child again, running and giggling on that Sunday afternoon with Grandaddy. Horses, the ocean, sun and memories both old and new…it was well with my soul.

I enjoyed the ride so much that I decided to do another one this past Sunday, but this time at Princess Place Preserve.  This massive local park that I didn’t even know existed, was breathtaking.  If you haven’t been there, I highly suggest it, as there is quite a bit of history behind it.  The scenery was incredible with magnificent oaks and manicured trails winding beside bluffs overlooking the waterway. I rode Jolly, the same horse that I had the pleasure of bonding with on the beach ride.  Jolly liked to leisurely walk at the back of the pack and sorta beat to his own drum; that is, until he felt like proving he could pass a fellow trail mate with an unexpected yet exhilarating trot. They say horses of a feather stick together so we made a great team.  I found myself imagining that I was starring in my own Yellowstone episode and riding off into the sunset with my own Rip Wheeler.  Ahhhh, I digress.

So, what will you do this week?  Start by digging deep into what makes you happy. What gives your soul a feeling of peace or well-being?  Connect with your inner childhood memories and be open to where they take you.  Don’t look for another series to watch, start creating your own!  Feel it.  Find it.  Do it. It’s your life, so live it!

You can find more information on Equestrian Adventures at

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Melodye Lewis is a Friday columnist for Flagler News Weekly giving you something to talk about over lunch.