His name was Up Above.
My mother named him when she was about six – and she spent every day of every summer on him.
She grew up in Boston, which was not an environment particularly suited for horses; my grandparents, though, had a summer house in the town of Jaffrey, New Hampshire, right in the shadow of Mt. Monadnock, and Up Above was there each June to greet her.
“Why on earth did you name him that?” I asked her once.
She grinned at me. “Because when I was in the saddle, I was up above the rest of the world – made me feel important.”
I get that, I really do.
That’s my mother, Martha, on the left, and her sister Hope (who named her horse Radio, for some reason!) on the right. Up Above and Radio boarded at a nearby farm during the off seasons, but spent their summer days in a stable on the property my grandparents owned.
The house was on Thorndike Pond. There was a dirt road that went around the whole thing, and the two sisters spent their summer days riding.
My mother told me they’d make picnic lunches, then be off for the day. They’d stop somewhere along the route, let the horses drink from Thorndike, tie them to a nearby tree, then eat their lunches on the shore.
They rode in horse shows in the nearby town of Dublin – I’ve got programs from the Dublin Horse Show that show my mother winning ribbons in various classes.
I love this portrait: my mother, with Up Above, taken (she told me) at the
Horse Show in the early
1930s when she was about twelve. She’d just won her very first blue ribbon.
This photograph hangs in my kitchen, where I see it every morning. Dublin
It always makes me smile.