During April, I’m blogging daily as a participant of the
Blogging from A to Z April Challenge (with time off on Sundays).
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No, they said and bought me chickens, ducks, and a rabbit instead. I loved them, too, but they weren't horses.
Each summer, we visited cousins in southeastern Wisconsin. They lived on a farm — with horses!
Cindy, a huge bay, was off-limits to me because she was young and too lively for inexperienced me. But Frisky, a Shetland pony, was just my size.
I so looked forward to our trips to Wisconsin. We'd leave after my dad got off work, driving through the Chicago and Milwaukee rush-hour traffic to get there before dark. From the minute after we hugged our cousins and carried our bags into the house, I'd start begging to ride. I was the biggest pest imaginable. I wouldn't have liked myself much back then if I could put myself in my cousins' shoes.
One Saturday afternoon, my cousin Kaye saddled up Frisky and led us out to the back pasture where there was plenty of room to run. And boy, did I want to run! Kaye gave me some pointers - hold onto the saddle horn with one hand and keep your legs tight against her sides. I nodded impatiently, my pulse already thrumming faster than Frisky could run.
But before I could get my one foot firmly in the stirrup, Frisky bolted. I hung on, still fighting to find the left stirrup, but wow! we were running — fast! Bumping up and down, I felt a slow shifting to the left and realized in the next few seconds the saddle was not cinched tight. The farther we ran, the faster the saddle slipped to the side. I tried shifting my weight to keep it on her back but it was too far gone. Frisky and I tearing across the pasture gave new meaning to the term riding side saddle.
By the time Frisky made it to the gravel drive next to the barn, I was clinging to the saddle with one foot dragging and the other still wound up in a stirrup. Luckily she slowed when we neared the paddock and my cousin grabbed her reins. Running had lost its appeal for me.
Kaye caught up to us a few minutes later. While my mom and dad checked me over for dislocated body parts, I fought back tears, more from disappointment than fear. Kaye eyed me as she collected the reins from her son and went about readjusting and tightening the saddle. Then she led me over to Frisky.
"Let's get you back on for a few minutes," she said. She boosted me up into the saddle as my mom said it might not be a good idea just yet.
"If she doesn't get back on now, she might not again," Kaye said. She was afraid to leave me with the impression of my lopsided ride. She didn't want fear to rule my choice to ride in the future.
Getting back on the horse is a good edict to live by.