Seventeen years ago, my neighbour asked if her friend's fourteen year old daughter could come up and help me with the livery stables. Unsure of what I was letting myself in for - I'd seen plenty of teenagers loafing around riding schools, dodging work, getting bored and causing trouble - I said I'd give her a "trial."
And so my best helper arrived. She was with me on Saturdays, Sundays and school holidays for years. Constantly trying to learn, constantly asking was she doing things right. Trustworthy enough to leave in charge when we had a sudden death in the family and had to go away for a couple of days. Brave enough to sit on young ponies, skilled enough to bring young ponies on, strong enough to lug bales of hay around, with an absolute passion for animals in general and horses in particular.
Eventually her dream came true, her family moved into the country and bought a horse for her. It was funny to watch our relationship change from mentor/student to an adult friendship, but that's what it's become.
I was so happy to be at her wedding yesterday.
(I know you'll read this eventually, although maybe not this week!)