Horses

I had a zillion errands to run today (before the forecasted blizzard hits) including going to the gym and I did bring my camera with me. I’ve seen this bumper sticker on an F250 in the gym parking lot for a while now, and it tickles me every time I see it. I took the photo from far away because the owner was sitting inside where he could see what I was up to.
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The owner is a short old man who has lived a very full life and is quite a character (notice I said he’s short and he drives an F250 – you barely see him above the steering wheel). He goes to the gym three times a week, even though he now has to totter in with his oxygen tank. Between him and my friend Ruth who is in a wheelchair and comes to the gym three times a week, I have *no* excuse in the world *not* to go the gym!

I love horses, I grew up riding horses either Western or bareback (I prefer Western) because the horse can gallop with me just hanging on to the reins in one hand and the saddle horn with other hand and it feels like I’m flying along on his back. It is one of the best feelings in the world to ride on a strong, galloping horse.

Then a few years ago my friend got the bright idea that we should learn how to ride English. Alrighty then. There’s no horn on an English saddle. You have to hold a rein in each hand, you have to hold your hands together, and you hang on with your thigh muscles, among many other uptight rules. Not only that I had to wear an equestrian helmet (that didn’t break my heart)

equestrian helmet

and the barn we were going to for lessons had bad horses – one was gelded too late so he had a major attitude problem. Another one was ready for the glue factory and every step she took I thought she was going to collapse in a heap underneath me.

However there was one horse there that loved me. When he saw me come in the barn he got all excited. When I was allowed to ride him I got excited back – he responded to me real good – one time too good and he stopped and I didn’t. I flew over his head and he felt so bad that he came up and put his soft lips on my ear and he blew snuffy kisses through his nose as if to say “I’m sorry I misunderstood you.”

That dressage helmet has been gathering dust in my closet since then, and the only horse back riding I do these days is Western, where I can hang onto the reins with one hand and the horn with the other, and my hair can fly in the breeze instead of being tucked all under a hat like I’m all uptight. Nothing against English riding or English riders – I think it’s beautiful to watch – I just prefer riding Western! And I love the smell of horses, I love horse hair, I love grooming a horse and the way horse hair swirls in certain spots on its body, and I love the soft feel of horse lips as you feed them a carrot or an apple from your hand.