“In My Opinion…” by Melanie Eberhardt

My mother tells a story about my “odd behavior” as a child. She actually has a lot of those stories but today I’ll share one of her favorites – the time I became a horse. I wanted a horse. My parents did not. In a bout of parental defiance (or tantrum, tomato/tomatoe) I became a horse. Mom claims for months I whinnied and crawl on my hands and knees. I think mom’s story is hyperbole. I do remember blanketing myself with a towel to nap under the dining room table. I do remember working on my trot and canter transitions around the coffee table. But come on, didn’t we all pretend to be a horse as kids? For some of us, we continue to do so as adults.

Meet Ayla Kirstine from Norway, she’s a grown up who runs around like a horse. When she was 4, she employed the same tact as I to get a dog. Years later, she realized she liked horses and wanted one. It worked for the dog so she began acting like a horse to get a horse.

Recently Ayla posted several videos on social media showcasing her “horsemanship” skills cantering and jumping like a horse. Impressive. My mare can’t jump that high (ok, she WON’T jump that high, but that’s another story). Ayla received a number of negative comments, Neigh-sayers if you will, but did not let the internet trolls harsh her parade. Instead of deleting her account, she posted a new video and in response she received thousands of supportive messages.

I think what Ayla is doing is delightful. She isn’t doing it to become an internet “star”. She’s been doing this since she was a child. The only difference is that now she is sharing her talent on social media. That takes courage, after all, an adult acting like a horse isn’t something you see every day.

Being unique requires courage. We should not judge others unless you’re at a show holding a handful of colorful ribbons. I encourage people who share their innocuous acts and on the occasion that I am not so inclined, I hear my grandma’s advice ringing in my ears. “If you don’t have anything nice to say, shut your damn mouth.” Granny didn’t mince words.

One of Ayla’s followers dubbed her “pferd madchen” german for “horse girl”. That moniker rings with high praise. I applaud Ayla for her unusual talent AND for having the courage to share it with others. Rock n’ roll Ayla! Wonderfully eclectic, horse-loving folk like you make our world a more interesting place.

Photography Courtesy: Ayla Kirsten