I can’t remember when my love of horses began; as a child, I suppose. However, it was probably an innate, subconscious fascination, because I stared at all animals, not just horses. Maybe it was during the trips along two-lane roads as my family headed to the country to see relatives. There were always horses grazing in the fields.
Sometimes at local fairs, I’d have an opportunity to ride, or more accurately, to sit on a horse and be guided around a ring; but I declined. They seemed so big and high off the ground, yet there was still a part of me that wanted to mount a horse, hold the reins, and trot off.
In my invincible teens – 16 or 17 years old – it would happen. Four friends and I went to a farm where we could pay to ride; three guys and two girls. I don’t know how I got on my horse, but with a little help, I did. After all of us were, um, situated, two of the guys began riding wildly like they were in an old western TV show. My girlfriend had gotten her horse to walk. Mine… just… stood… still, when suddenly, The Lone Ranger was advancing directly toward me at what appeared to be 50 miles per hour. Had someone instructed me to kick the side of the horse? Giddy-up! Move! wasn’t working. The next thing I remember is my body being on the side of the horse, not yet on the ground, with my hands hanging onto something. Was it the saddle? The reins? The Lone Ranger had plowed into me, and Tonto, on his horse, had joined the collision in an attempt to save me. Thankfully, the three horses all had more sense than we had.
When the dust settled, literally, I was somehow back on my horse listening to the howling laughter of my girlfriend. The guys didn’t hold back either.
There would be another adventure a year later while visiting cousins in Michigan. This time, my horse decides to run… fast… carrying me along as I held on and screamed. It felt like five minutes, but was probably twenty seconds. When it occurred to me to stop screaming, Silver stopped and I got off. Period. A 7ish year old child on the farm was saying, “Ma’am, you have to take the horse back to the farm.” I kept walking. (By the way, who were these people – the owners – who just let me get on a horse without the least concern!)
When I finally took horseback riding lessons well into my adult years, I was taught, step by step, month after month, year after year. In those lessons, I learned that you don’t leave a bridled horse out in the field with the risk of it getting caught onto something.
Those were fun times, with a few frights mixed in and adrenalin doing its job. I had progressed to cantering through the woods and jumping. Me thinks that is not going to happen anymore.
So there you go. A little background on why horses make me happy; even a museum picture postcard of a bronze Suffolk Punch Stallion.