I was never much of one for riding horses…
Oh, of course I’d had my young cowboy fantasies and the daydream of being the only kid in school to ride his horse to classes but as time went on the closest I got to that was when my folks would take us to a riding stable.
Some folks would argue that riding stable horses are not very good examples of good rides but that’s pretty much what you were stuck with if you were not in true horse country.
When you ride a horse with no instruction you find that it is not nearly as comfortable as it seems in the movies. They manage to get your up and downness while seated way out of synch and your butt takes a beating.
As I got older I noticed that horseback riding was favored more by women than it was by men. Generally, if a man rode a horse there was a paycheck connected to it. He was working. Women, on the other hand, like to ride them ‘for pleasure’ and I’ll not delve into exactly what that might mean but suffice to say, most non working horses are owned by women than by men. I don’t have any real statistics for this but it seems to be the case from my own observation.
Other things I have observed is that like all mammals, the horse has distinct ways of showing displeasure with humans including:
Ignoring rider’s urgings and commands
Bucking or otherwise unhorsing its passenger.
I also made the observation that these animals weigh half a ton or more.
Every time I envision riding a horse my weird imagination plays a scenario of the one horse who has figured that he will not conform. Hay and a barn are not worth the loss of freedom and the chore of being made to do whatever the pompous, fragile, weak humans want it to do.
One day I was standing near a horse and marveling at it’s beauty. It is truly a lovely animal and you could appreciate the name the Sioux gave it “Shunka Wakan” the ‘mystery dog’. Domesticated or wild, they are a beautiful creature and it’s young rank as among the cutest and most entertaining animal babies to watch.
This particular horse saw me looking at him and he said, “Hey mister!”
“You can talk? I asked, “How is it you can talk?”
“I was an understudy for Mr. Ed. How else do you think?”
“That’s amazing!” said I.
“Yeah, well, that’s all water out of the trough now. But lissen… I have a message for you.”
“For me? What is it?”
He took a few mouthfuls of grass while he got his phrasing in order.
“Well, first, the information isn’t free. I’ll have an apple or carrot from you to tell it to you.”
So it was a trudge to my car to get the bribe, an apple which he lipped, chewed and swallowed before he continued. He was so eager and quick at this he caused me to count my fingers.
“You’re on our hit list.”
“Hit list? Horses have a hit list? What kind of hit list could horses possibly have?”
“The word is out on you. We have our own form of e.mail and internet and you’re on the top ten list of potential riders we deem incompetent and an embarrassment.”
“I never heard of such a thing.”
“Of course not” he said, “You don’t have log-in rights or the password but I’m here to tell you that you’re on the list”
“But what does it mean? I asked.
“It means that sooner or later you’re going to try to ride one of us horses that are in the network.”
“You mean not all of the horses are on the network?
“Not yet,” he said, “Not all of them are up to speed. Those you don’t need to worry about. If you’re a gambling man you can probably ride one of them and get away with it.”
“What happens if I try to ride one of you that’s on the network?
He took another mouthful of grass.
Whoever you try to ride will do the full load on you. You will be bitten, thrown and stomped.”
“What? For just trying to ride one of you? Why me?
“Well, firstly, it’s strictly business so don’t get your quirt in a knot about it. This isn’t about you. But we are going to put a stop to all this horse riding foolishness once and for all starting with you and anyone else on the list…”
So there you have it. That’s why I won’t ride a horse. I might pick one that has access to the list and I’d be a fool to risk the consequences.
You may feel this narrative lacks credibility and you may be right.
That’s your prerogative…