A Good Horse is a Dead Horse?

4 Oct

Okay, okay…before I get all the animal lovers irate and get flour-bombed by PETA, let me clarify.  I don’t wish that all horses were dead.  I just prefer to ride ones that are.  Let me explain.

I had always loved horses ever since I was a little kid.  However, horses did not love me.  My first ride was in high school with my boyfriend and another couple.  It was a trail ride where the horses know the trail, know how fast to go, and don’t stray from their routine.  All the horses behaved according to plan except mine.  I had the rebellious one who decided it would be best to not only veer off the trail, but to nearly decapitate me with a large tree branch.

Although, somewhat unnerving, it didn’t faze me.  I was young and invincible and didn’t give it a second thought.  Fast forward twenty years.  I was at my aunt and uncle’s house in northern Minnesota and it was happy hour.  Their friend came over to chat and mentioned she had ridden horses all her life and wouldn’t it be a blast for all of us to go riding the next day.  After several cocktails, who was I to say no?

We arrived at the stable.  The trail leader asked how comfortable we were with horses.  I, of course, said, “I’m very comfortable so give me any horse.”  Big mistake.  She gives me the largest and most skittish one.  I should have seen the red flags when I noticed the trail rider was wearing a helmet and hearing-impaired and I was at the back of the line.

We started out in the woods and my horse, whom I’ll call “Fido’s Dinner”, started freaking out when the horse in front of him whacked him with his tail.  At this point, I should have jumped off and said game over, but why would I do something intelligent like that?

The ride went on and everything seemed to be going smoothly until we hit the end of the trail in the woods and arrived at an open field.  In the distance, was the barn and the fenced area where the other horses were hanging out.  “Fido’s Dinner” decided he’d had enough and wanted to get back to his buddies so he took off running toward them.

I was so panicked I didn’t know what to do.  I kept pulling on the reins and he wouldn’t stop.  Finally, I got him to slow down but then he started moving like he wanted to buck me off.  I decided at this point to do the most logical thing I could think of…to throw myself off.

I took advantage of his head being down and basically slid on his neck, hit the ground, and rolled away so he wouldn’t step on me.  The next thing I do is look up and here’s “Fido’s Dinner” standing there looking at me like I’m completely crazy.  At that moment, I agreed with his assessment.  I was crazy to get on that stupid animal and think I could handle it.

For a time after that incident, I couldn’t even see a horse on TV without getting anxious.   To this day, I still get extremely nervous around them.  My daughter wants to take riding lessons.  I told her the only horse I’ll be taking her to ride on is a dead one on a carousel.

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