Granddaughter Kiera’s scary, true, thrilling, tremendously informative tale: “I had been told that every horse had its wild side . . .”

Kiera and me as baby

Kiera and Grannie Annie, early on.

Once in a while I put up a post about my grandkids, especially, so far, my granddaughter Kiera. Her parents say she is like me. Especially in her early, nearly obsessive, love of horses — which kind of scares them, because there is no way they’re going to buy her a horse.

IMG_2711Here’s one sweet painting from years ago. There are, as you can imagine, many many more.

And here’s a horse sculpture that she whipped together, also years ago.

horse sculpture

Kiera, with her Leo Sun and Venus in expressive Leo, is already highly creative. Couple that with the real engine of her chart — Sun in early Leo conjunct Mars in late Cancer, both square Aries Moon — and you have a girl who simply cannot stop, once she gets going on whatever fascinates her. She’s a joy to behold, now that she has learned to transform her early (and extreme) temper tantrums (a more unconscious use of that energy system), by distilling and focusing her fiery/watery fuel into personal expression. Art, music, sculpture, knitting — just about anything she touches with her hands comes through already masterful. She seems to have little or no learning curve. Really unusual. This is not to brag. This is fact.

Yet, to meet Kiera, you wouldn’t know what huge energy powers her, since she’s so small, and since her Ascendant, in sensitive Pisces, makes her appear shy and reticent.

She and I have gone on several outings together — something I do with her brother Drew alone, as well. So far, he has preferred steak houses and bumper cars and miniature golf. Hard for me to get into, but hey! it’s his excursion, I’m along for the ride, and I very much enjoy his deep intelligence and quiet, clever, droll humor. He reminds me of his Dad.

Adventures with Kiera and me, so far: craft stores in Nashville, Indiana, where she and I had lunch and she could check out art supplies in this neck of the woods. (Her family lives near Boston.)

Christmas Week at Grannie Annie’s

— and a afternoon tour of Louisa May Alcott’s home, Concord Massachusetts, plus tea and crumpets in a tiny nearby hotel.

Kiera comes of age

All this is prelude to what happened recently, the kind of learning she is giving herself over to now.

A few weeks ago I got a call from Sue, Kiera’s Mom. Kiera had been in a horse show, competing with other girls on the horse she rides for the stable where she mucks out stalls and grooms horses in exchange for riding. It was her first competition. She was excited.

But then, something strange happened. She was on the trail, cantering Reno round and round, and making small jumps, with the other horses, when suddenly Reno bolted. Kiera, making a split decision, jumped off! What? At full gallop?

Sue didn’t actually see what happened. All she knew was all of a sudden she saw Reno running pell-mell riderless and Kiera walking towards her. Kiera told her what happened, but she was strangely subdued, Sue said, and went right to bed after they got home.

I asked for more details. Sue didn’t know. I said I hoped Kiera would write about what happened to her. That I would love to post it on my blog.

A few days ago, Sue told me that in class the teacher had assigned them to write a story about some experience they had had. And, Sue said, Kiera told her that she just started writing, fast, the words pouring out of her onto the page. At dinner that night, she was almost finished.

I couldn’t wait to see it.

This morning I finally received an email from Sue, with Kiera’s piece about that experience attached. She titled it, simply, “Reno.” And, it turns out, her talent as a writer came in full-blown, too.

To set the scene, some photos that Sue took for that day:

Age thirteen, and tiny for her size, Kiera has a will of iron. Here she is shoving Reno into the horse trailer. Sue wondered if Reno even noticed what Kiera was trying to do. . .

loading Reno

Happy happy happy!

Kiera with Reno holding bridle

(Hey, I just noticed she has on her Indiana University sweatshirt! Go Hoosiers!)

Here she is on Reno, on their way into the arena. (Sue had sent me a little video, but I couldn’t load it here, so took a screen shot.) Notice Kiera’s fancy boots and helmut, de rigueur for English riding, very Eastern and snooty to my western eyes. And yet she’s riding a scrappy mustang from Nevada. Love the contrast.


Okay I’m finally getting to the meat of this post, Kiera’s story, in writing, of her amazing experience with Reno. Here you go!


by Kiera Cudmore

It was a split decision I made, jumping off that galloping horse. I mean, I had practiced jumping off before, but in the ring, at a trot. I had never attempted a stunt like I did that afternoon. By taking my feet out of those stirrups, I could not guarantee that I would land on my feet. Or that my friend Lauren on the horse behind me, would react quickly enough to steer around me.

It was too quick a decision for me to consider the other dangers of jumping off. All I knew, is that I didn’t want to be thrown. I just wish, as I had rounded that bend in the path, that I could have been prepared for what happened. I had been told that every horse had its wild side, and Reno revealed his clear and strong. I knew Reno had once been a wild mustang of Nevada. And no one could ever take those memories, and that feeling of freedom away from him.

The ride had begun early in the day, around the time most people start to get hungry for lunch. It was calming, and relaxing, as our horses carefully plodded along the marked trails. We jumped some fences, and cantered the fields, carefree. No one around to tell us what to do but ourselves. The ride had been so fun, and I had never had an experience quite like that before.

As we turned the corner, the finish line in sight, Kaspar then Little Man took off at a gallop. Reno and I followed, barreling out of control. Me, just a small passenger on this big, strong creature. Ahead of me loomed a huge jump. I needed to either jump off, or gain control of my horse. The possibilities for gaining control were looking slim. I jumped.

After that jump, I ran to catch Reno. He looked so free and happy, running at full speed with his saddle flapping in the wind. Not many words can describe the scene that lay before my eyes but beautiful, as he ran through that field. The sun shone through his mane, and seemingly singed his flowing tail.

I feel as if I can accomplish a lot now that I know I made a good decision. My inner confidence was revealed. One I wasn’t even sure I had much of. I also have a new understanding of Reno. I have been reminded of the wild side that he possesses. My confidence will help me work with him better. The bond between me and Reno has strengthened due to our understanding of one another.

Yet as I sit on my bed staring at the ribbon I won, I can’t help but wonder what would have happened if I had stayed on that horse. I’m not sure I made the best decision, but I do know that I succeeded in taking the decision I felt was right. Everything worked out and I have pulled confidence from deep within me.


“And I have pulled confidence from deep within me.” YES! Wonderful, Kiera, that you have mined this experience for its gold.

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0 Responses to Granddaughter Kiera’s scary, true, thrilling, tremendously informative tale: “I had been told that every horse had its wild side . . .”

  1. Pamela says:

    Well done and well said, little and wise one.

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