Heaven Help the Spontaneous Horsemen

  • March 8, 2016
  • |
  • By Ellie Dalton

Posted in: Featured, Ranch Life

There’s something about a horse standing in front of you that makes you want to be a horsemen, climb on, and go for a ride.  I don’t know exactly what it is, but it’s definitely a real force and it seems to be the strongest with people that have never ridden before in their entire life.

A lot of these first time riding experiences can be amusing. Sometimes it is amusing for the rider as the horse takes its first step. They smile and laugh as they walk around in a little circle atop their first “real” horse. But, let’s be honest, most of the time it is more amusing for those of us on the ground.

I was recently driving down the freeway with a good friend and was reminded of just such an occasion that happened last summer.

Calvin is the type of young man that likes to wash his hands, wear blue pants (not denim) and get to bed on time. He is an ambitious guy that likes to set schedules, abide by a solid routine and be punctual. Poor guy, its’ really not his fault he doesn’t know a thing about spontaneity. The one day he was sick in eighth grade and missed school just happened to be the day the teacher taught the word spontaneous to the other kids his age. So he missed out, but he never knew it so it really didn’t affect him. That is, until the year he met Rain.

Rain is a paint horse named after Spirit’s pretty girlfriend in the DreamWorks movie. I rescued her from her spoiled owner (high school girl) and turned the training over to my brother Waid. Poor Rain had picked up a lot of bad habits from her previous owner, but they were nothing Waid couldn’t handle. It turns out he is even tougher and ornerier than a teenage girl. It took a little time, but he eventually had Rain behaving like a decent horse. She was actually quite gentle and soon became part of the family.

One fine evening Calvin found himself at the Dalton place for the first time. I had the special privilege of showing him around and introducing him to the many different animals in the barnyard. He appeared to be listening to me attentively, but I’m pretty sure he was actually devoting all of his energy into keeping his shoes clean.

We made our way to the arena where Rain was waiting to be fed. I hopped the fence and turned to tell Calvin that this was my horse, Rain. But as I turned back to speak to him, I was surprised to see him climbing up onto the fence beside Rain. He had a look in his eyes that appeared almost wild compared to the control he normally displayed.

Before I could do or say anything he asked, “If I jump on her back will she move?”

I have no idea where he had gotten got that idea. He must have seen it in a movie. I wanted to lie and say she was wasn’t broke, but I involuntarily told the truth.

“No…” I replied. “You should be safe, just don’t kick her or she’ll think you want to chase that calf,” I said pointing to a Holstein just a few yards away.

Before I could offer any kind of assistance to the process, off the fence he leapt like cat on its prey. The leaping Calvin landing on her back startled Rain a wee bit and she took a few trotting steps away from the fence. Calvin had obviously not counted on the fact that the 1,100 pound animal was capable of any sort of movement.

He quickly yelled, “Oooh, you are not supposed to move. Stop horse! How do I make it stop? Stop!”

I ran over to Rain and grabbed her neck as she stopped walking. “Jump!” I told Calvin, but he was already in the process of sliding off as fast as he could.

He took a few deep breaths, looked at me, looked at the horse, then back at me.

“Wow. I had no idea she was going to move,” said Calvin. “I never want to do that again,” he said as the control started coming back to his eyes and he quickly brushed the horse hair off his pants.

“You know what Calvin…” I sighed as he turned and walked towards the gate. “Neither do I.”


Posted in: Featured, Ranch Life