Riding The Neighbors’ Horse.

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When I was a kid, I was your typical horse-crazy little girl. My dad was a logger, and we didn’t have horses, so I would ride any horse I had the chance to ride. Now, I had very little practical knowledge of horses, but I’d read plenty of horsey books and felt quite able to take on anything!

One time I was given the opportunity to ride some Haflinger ponies that were just 2 miles down the road. Trained to ride, but lazy and stubborn from lack of use – they were offered to me to ride as much as I liked. Wow! What a gift to a horse-crazy girl!

They were a pain to catch. I had to lure them (and all their buddies) to the barn with grain. Then when I finally caught one, I spent half my time kicking it in the ribs to make it walk. They were such a pain, I wonder at my own tenacity!

Well, one day I had a extra hard time catching that horse. Once I finally got it caught, saddled and cinched up good, I got on and we stepped out. This barn had a circle drive in front of it, flanked on 3 sides by the horse pasture, one side was the barns and one side was the dirt road.
All was fine for about 5 strides – till Mr. Haflinger decided he wasn’t having any more of this riding business! I kicked him lightly in the ribs, but instead of walking out onto the dirt road as usual, he began to run! Around and around that circle he galloped, as I clung desperately to the saddle horn and prayed I wouldn’t fall off!

After several rounds, the wind pulling tears from my eyes – I decided I was going to die if he kept up this breakneck speed. As we went past the pasture side of the circle, there was one place he would almost brush the fence. It was that ‘endless corral’ style of fence; steel posts and rails. So I would grab frantically at the top rail, trying to catch hold and leap off the horse. When I finally did get a hand on it, I  got my skin nearly ripped off from the terrific speed which we were going. I decided that wasn’t going to work, instead I started doing what I should have done to start with; haul on the reins. I pulled with all my puny strength, and tried to say “Whoa!”, but all that came out was a shaky, wobbly voice that I couldn’t control.

After several more rounds, each getting progressively slower, he finally decided that he’d had enough of this foolishness, and went into the barn and stopped. I slid to the ground and nearly collapsed on spaghetti legs. I was so scared and mad that I was trembling. I wanted to yell and call him names and kick him, but I knew that I couldn’t do any of those things, so instead I unsaddled him, put him away and took my shattered self-confidence and my fence-burned hands and walked home, a few tears slipping down my cheeks.

I never could decide if he was genuinely having a problem, or if it was just general orneriness, but either way, I didn’t ride him again for many days. (I did eventually ride him again)
I will never forget my experience with riding the neighbors’ horse.

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About Kay Schrock

Kay is a ranch wife and mom of four kids. She has loved horses from a young age, and believes every little girl should have the opportunity to ride. Kay enjoys cooking for the ranch crew, photographing the ranch lifestyle, and writing stories. She loves...

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