Another blogger jogged my memory today (bad pun, if you know the blogger.) She was talking about riding horses and this brought straight to my mind my horse-riding experiences. First and foremost I remember going to my uncles' farm where they had several horses and ponies. My cousins were very good at riding and rode all the time and I, being the city raised kid, had never ridden. I think I was about 8 at the time, and my cousins being 10 and 12. They were so good at riding that they rarely even rode with a saddle! Well, despite my willingness to ride the horse, and despite my muttering under my breath that I was not afraid… I was shaking like a leaf when my uncle gave me a boost onto the animals' back. The bare back. Not having a clue what it was I was doing, I sat frozen, clutching the reins for dear life, while my poor gentle steed stood quietly waiting for some command. Then it happened. It had to happen, you know. The fates were laughing their asses off that day and town kid got theirs big-time. Did the horse run? Buck? Crazily whip around and bite the rider? Nope. None of the above. All he/she had to do was bend down to eat some grass. I found myself on the ground before you could say, whatthehelljusthappened?!?!

That was the highlight of my horse-back riding experience. I've never quite gotten over that feeling of total helplessness. I like horses, I do. But they still scare me a little. Yes, I've been "back on the horse" but I really didn't enjoy it. I think they're magnificent animals and I truly envy people who make it look easy. I'll just admire them from afar, thanks.

We won't even talk about the time my cousins shut me in with the pigs…

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Middle-aged. Anti-social. Mom. Grandma. Town-raised farmer's wife. Iowan. Want more? Come read the blogs.

4 thoughts on “Horseplay”

  1. i have ridden a couple of times and there is always some initial fear when i first get near the horse. but once i am on it, it feels so fantastic. i think i was a cowboy in a former life. or maybe i just like the hats?

    i want to hear about the pigs!

  2. I remember riding a horse once, as a teenager. It belonged to my uncle’s neighbor. It was my first time, and the horse trotted along nicely, until we were headed back toward home…and the barn…but then that horse took off like it had been shot. I had to hang on, literally, for dear life! LOL It scared me half to death, but I did manage to hang on, and it didn’t make me afraid to ride again.

    Someone told me that horses know when someone is afraid of them, and can be unmanabeable if they sense your fear.

  3. I started out on horses very young, I think my 4th birthday present was a trip to Knotts Berry Farm where my only memory was the thrill of sitting atop a cream colored shetland pony tied to a center stake and rode in circles forever. Well I also remember getting my picture taken with the saloon girl statue because my Mom would bring the picture out any time she thought there might be an opportunity to embarrass
    me until my cheeks would reach the same rosy color as in the photo.

    Every Summer until I was 12 or 13 I went back to Arkansas to stay on Grandpa’s farm. I got to feed chickens, slop hogs, milk a cow or two, and take the old retired chestnut plow horse out of the barn for casual stroll around the grounds.The workhorse was old, flea bitten and mangy, sway backed and slower than Grandma in the morning, but to me he was a wild stallion, a knights steed, a thoroughbred racehorse,
    and Roy Rogers Trigger, Cisco Kid’s Diablo and the Lone Ranger’s White Feller, or Silver as he later became known all rolled into one. I curried and groomed that old nag, treated summer sores, swamped the stall and brought treats every day. It was a tragic day when I discovered that just
    because a horse was named buttercup, that one should never feed fresh buttercups to any livestock.Poor Buttercup nearly died from colic that summer.

    By the time I was in my teens I was no longer making annual treks to the homeland. I felt horse saavy enough to hire on as a tour guide in Trabuco Canyon at Beardsley’s horse rental. I fed and cared for a half dozen trail horses, all misfits just like me, it was a perfect summer job. After I got to know the equines I chose my lead horse, Apache. A natural choice because
    he refused to follow the others. I always got a personal laugh when timid riders would gaze at all the horseflesh and then
    focus on Swayback Taffy. She appeared old and docile, but what they didn’t realize is that she spooked real easy and when
    climbing trails she would flinch and buck if a branch swung back on her. It is always important to listen to your trail guide.
    I had an especial fondness for Shagnasty. He was a right proud Fox Trotter, about 15 hands tall. Grey with black mane and tail, bright eyed amd sure footed. In the corral he was a popular choice for riders, but I reserved Shagnasty and Midnght Lady for the pretty girls with a date. Midnight Lady was very much a gentle lady, but her one flaw was a deep and sincere love for Apache. She would follow him anywhere and not leave his side. Shagnasty was strong, bold and very fast, but if I left a hand full of carrots or apples in a bucket in his stall he could think of nothing else and would invariabley turn tail and run back to the corral about ten minutes into the ride. Sometimes you shouldn’t trust your trail guide. As I said for me it was a great summer job.

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