I’ve always loved horses. I love everything about them. I went through that horse stage in early adolescence; had horse figurines; read every book in the Black Stallion and Misty series; always wanted one. Still do really. But growing up in the city, I’ve never really been around horses
I’ve been on the back of a horse three times now. The first time I was about 10 years old: “Here, sit on here. (the saddle ) It’ll steady ‘em.” The “em” being the horse that was about to get its feet inspected. Oh yeah, and the little thing stuck in the frog, let’s just dig that out. By holding on to the mane, I managed to keep seated through the first buck. The stirrups dangling way below my grubby tennis shoes were no help. The owner grabbed the halter just before the second try to throw the little girl from the saddle. It’s a good thing too. I think the first was practice.
Second attempt a year or so later: “This is a gentle horse, we’ll just walk.” Okay… this time the stirrups were actually adjusted for my feet, reins in hand… hey it’s kinda cool. I could get used to this. How do you make this thing turn? Then my companion (and her horse) decided to trot down to the birch trees by the river. Well, my horse wanted to tag along. Did you know you have to hold on really tight with your thighs? I didn’t.
Third attempt five years later:
Mom–You should really go out with this guy. He’s nice.
Me–Sure why not?
Guy– Let’s go horseback riding.
Me–Sure, why not?
Get there and guy decides to ride double bareback. Well… okay, he knows what he’s doing, right? I get to sit closer to the head, further away from the slope that is a horse’s rear. It’s all good. We ride through the orchards, he decides to trot. I remember to hold on really tight with my thighs and um… there’s no stirrups. That kinda helps you stay on the horse but so far so good. Then the horse decides to run. Guy pulls back on the reins then… he’s not there. A second later, a weightless feeling and lack of warm hairy flesh (horse not guy) is followed by the solid impact of California hardpan. I look up. Horse is nibbling on grass a few yards away. Guy is laying on the ground in the other direction. Except for a throbbing pain in my knee, I seem to be okay. I make my way to the guy. He’s bent over. Says, “I think I have a concussion. Guess I shouldn’t have picked I forgot horses name. He hasn’t been ridden in over a year.” I almost kicked him… maybe would have if not for the throbbing knee.
Fast forward to yesterday. Husband says, “Babe, I’d love to go horseback riding with you.”