I occasionally get questions like "Do you have a horse, Mrs. M?"
I did not have a horse as a child. We lived in Tacoma (Jenny Grant's hometown, by the way). A city girl. But we moved to the country, had an acre, and began to accumulate all kinds of livestock: chickens, sheep (bad choice), milk goats, day-old calves (one at a time), and . . . at one point in our lives . . . a horse.
Kristel and Chad played with Panda. In the picture you can see--if you look closely--a braided tail and braided mane--with ribbons. Across the street, a huge hay field beckoned, where they could ride and gallop to their heart's content. Not ever bothering with the saddle, petite Kristel just jumped up, grabbed Panda's mane, and slid on with the easy of a gymnist (which she was).
Panda was 14.2 hands, so she could show either pony class or horse class (we didn't mess with showing. Panda was a pet). She was 23 years old when we got her and was adept at getting into mischief. One Christmas Eve, arriving home very late from the grandparents' house, we checked on our livestock, only to discover that Panda had knocked the faucet handle off, thus flooding the shed floor in inches of water. What a mess! Another time, she relaxed, but her foot "relaxed" on Kristel's foot, and no matter what we did, we could not get that 1,500 pound of horse meat to MOVE!
Kristel still continued to go over to Panda's old home and ride. This picture shows her at age 14, giving her 2-year-old brother, Andrew, a ride. Finally, Panda and her family moved to Eastern Washington, where she lived to the ripe old age of about 34! I named Melinda's horse Panda, in her honor.