As a very young child I fantasized about one day owning a horse. My best friend and I used to feed the horses in her neighborhood and then spend the day pretending to be cowgirls and riding our imaginary horses around. When I finally had the opportunity to ride a horse I was over the moon. Sadly, the first horse I rode did not share my enthusiasm.
In fact, my first couple of horse riding experiences were nothing short of traumatic.
When I was about ten years old I went to a dude ranch with my church. One day we had a horse back riding adventure scheduled. Before the trip, I roamed the stables to check out the horses. While petting and feeding them I ran into one of the Cowboys who would be leading our group through the trails. I told him that I loved horses, but was terrified of them.
The Cowboy assured me that I would be fine and told me I would get the smallest sweetest horse, Peanut.
I loved Peanut instantly. It did not take long for me to calm down and enjoy the ride. We rode through the woods, over creeks, along cliffs, and eventually came to an open meadow. We stopped to listen to the head Cowboy tell us something important, I assume. I was only 10 and not listening to a word. I was happy just gazing into the meadow with Peanut. Sadly, Peanut did not share my content.
Peanut took off. He ran to the middle of the meadow and began bucking wildly while I held on for dear life. After a couple of cowboys calmed him down and helped me off the horse, I joined my Dad on his horse and rode with my eyes closed and my fist clenched tight the rest of the trip.
I never got on a horse again.
Zoey had a very similar experience. She was somehow convinced to ride again recently, and told me I had to do the same.
Her Uncle Kelly, (my Uncle too I guess!) is a real Cowboy. He rides and trains horses, has a farm, and makes the most beautiful things you have ever seen from leather. He assured me that he could teach me to ride his horse, and promised nothing bad would happen. I trust Kelly, so over the break we spent a day on his farm.
Kelly was so calm, and has such a great bond with his horse Junior. I felt safe and comfortable the whole time, and even began to enjoy myself.
Horseback riding was not the only activity on the farm. We also took turns riding dirt bikes around the property.
When we got too cold we spent time in Kelly’s shop watching him work his magic with his leather and his tools. Husband’s family is very artistic.
After a great morning on the farm, Uncle Kelly took us to his favorite country restaurant. I had turnips, greens, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, and cornbread. Every dish tasted like something right out of a southern Grandmother’s kitchen.
I had the best day being a cowgirl, and I definitely plan on visiting again! Thank you so much Uncle Kelly!