Thursday, January 21, 2010

I say Whoa! to horse back riding

I have a love/hate relationship with horses. I love to look at them; but hate to ride them. I was 19 years old when I got on my first horse. I was on my honeymoon. (That sounded a little derogatory, didn't it?) We signed up to ride a trail with a bunch of riders. It was an hour long ride. What was I thinking? Obviously I wasn't. I was fearless, young, and in-love. I could do anything. Boy was I wrong. It scared the bejesus out of me. We rode up hills, we rode down hills. Very steep hills. Hills that were so steep that I thought I was going to fall head first over the horse. Luckily I wasn't on the horse that my husband rode on. He was warned that when his horse wanted the rider to get off, it would immediately drop to the ground and roll over; the rider had to scramble off before getting flattened like a pancake. All went well till we were just about at the end of the trail. Then - bam! The horse dropped, my husband jumped off, and the ride was over.

Ten years passed until I got on another horse. My life had changed somewhat. I now had two children, one less husband, and was dating my current husband, Jim. We went horseback riding with a group of friends. I signed up as a "novice" rider. They gave me an old nag named "Dotty."

"You don't have to worry about Dotty," the woman assured me. "She's an old gal. She won't even trot!" Then she laughed.

Jim got a bigger, and younger horse. I don't remember it's name, but I know it was male and he was fast.

Our friend, Matt, had never been on a horse, so he was even more inexperienced than me. Altogether there were about seven in our group. Things started off well enough; we rode slow and stayed together in a pack. Matt's horse wouldn't stay on the path; she kept wondering off the trail to the tall grass growing alongside the fence. Matt couldn't control his horse. Either Jim or one of the other riders (not me) would ride over to Matt, take his horse's reins, and lead it back to the trail. This happened a few times. Then all of a sudden Matt's horse turned around and started galloping back towards the barn. That's all we saw was Matt's receding back as he held on for dear life with one hand, and waved goodbye with the other one. We didn't see him for the whole hour we were on the trail.

Pretty soon our horses began to pick up speed. The spaces widened between all of us. I brought up the rear, and followed Jim's horse. All of a sudden it was as if his horse got a bug up his butt. He took off across the field like a bat out of hell. And guess what? Ole Dotty wasn't so old after all! She started trotting/galloping after Jim's horse like nobody's business! Okay. Nobody told me about posting. And I'm not talking about blogging. I'm talking where you lift your butt off the saddle and set it back down, in an up and down motion, in conjunction with the horse's movement. This makes for a comfortable ride for both the rider and the horse. Nope, nope, nope. Never heard of such a word. I was a novice rider, remember? So there I was, holding on to Dotty for dear life, cussing her out like a sailor, all the while my ass was slapping that saddle. I thought for sure by the time Dottie caught up with Jim that he would find me hanging underneath the horse, clinging to Dottie's belly! I barely made it to Jim in one piece. By the time I caught up with him, tears streaked down my face, my throat was raw from screaming, and my ass felt like it had been paddled by spanking machine! Jim's horse finally slowed down to a walk and then so did Dottie.

Jim took one look at me and asked incredulously, "What happened to you?"

I explained what happened and vowed that it would be a long time before I got on a horse again.

Flash forward about 15 years - Jim, our daughter, and I went to Wisconsin Dells for a free weekend of camping. That's all we had to do was listen to a sales pitch to buy into a condo or time share. Anyway, the weekend included horseback riding. I thought to myself, "Why not give it a try. Enough time had passed since the last bad incident." So the three of us walked down to the stables to get our horses. All the horses were tied up outside in a line. The man would look you up and down and then assign a horse to you. He put my daughter on a nice small horse. He looked at Jim, then at me. I saw him look over to this honking tall, wide-ass horse. Then he looked at me. Shit. And he waved me over. Now - My husband is almost a foot taller than me. Okay I exaggerate. He's 10 inches taller. And a good 50 pounds heavier. So explain to me again why I'm getting the effing stallion? I stood next to the horse and looked up, and up, and swallowed. I had a hard time getting up on him, AND a hard time spreading my legs over his girth. (SHUT UP). The guy finished assigning the horses. I noticed Jim's horse wasn't as big as mine. What was up with that? The guy then got on his horse and gave us some basic lessons, like pull right on the reins to go right, left to go left, and back to stop. He warned us to keep a little distance between horses because they didn't like another horse near their own rear end. Good to know. We all lined up and started on the trail.

Not ten feet from the corral stood two horses that were loose. As soon as my horse passed them, one of the horses came over to my horse, and my horse kicked up his hind legs! With me on him! I let out a blood-curdling scream! C'mon, we haven't even left the grounds yet and already I'm in trouble? This cannot be good.

This set the tone for the rest of the ride. I gripped this horse so hard with my knees. I was tense the complete ride. Let's just say that I did NOT enjoy the ride whatsoever. I kept praying for it to be over. It was the longest hour of my life.

Finally we rounded a bend and I could see the barn. Yes! The horses slowed down and started bunching up. I pulled on the reins so my horse wouldn't get too close to the horse in front of me. I didn't want any kind of trouble. Nosiree Bob! I didn't notice the gap getting bigger and bigger in front of me. Unbeknown to me, I had continued to pull back on the reins. There were about six horses behind me. They were all backing up. The leader happened to turn around and saw the large gap and the mess I was creating.

He yelled, "Hey! You've got your horse stuck in REVERSE!"

Oh. Yeah. So if you continuously pull on the reins, the horse backs up. Who knew?

By the time we reached the stable, I could barely get off the horse. My legs were stiff from clenching them so hard. I was so bow legged when I walked that I looked like Yosemite Sam, only without the guns. Oh. And my mustache isn't quite that long.

And so, folks, due to my past experiences with horse back riding, I say nay, nay to trying it again. So, unfortunately, this picture is more appropriate for this post than the top one.


Rae said...

I laughed my ass off reading this - with tears in my eyes too - it was that funny. I could just see you bouncing along on that old nag. I don't think I would have tried it after the first ride. Love how you tell a story.

Deb said...

LOL.....too funny...

Gail said...

Hilarious!!! I am still laughing. Those were gentle horses, what if you had a bad one?

Brian Miller said...

lol. on our honeymoon we rode horses...mine was rambo. i think he was an oxymoron. he could barely move. but he took me on an amazing adventure...very slowly. smiles.

Bonnie, Original Art Studio said...

Pat - for the horses sakes, PLEASE refrain from mounting ever again!!

wenn said...

i haven't tried horse riding before. it must be fun.

for a different kind of girl said...

I've only ridden a horse once, and I was very, very young. My aunt lives on a farm and she used to have horses, so when I stayed with her one week, she convinced me to ride a horse, and because I was a kid, I thought it would be awesome. Then I got on, bareback, and we trotted awhile. Then a car went by on the gravel road we were on and that horse took off running. I was terrified! My aunt was running around behind us trying to get the horse to stop and I was hanging on for dear life. That was my one and only (thank goodness!) experience on a horse, and I lived to tell the tale!

Kathy's Klothesline said...

Good thing I have water, cause I wet my pants laughing! I don't ride horses either......

Were you sore all over the next day? I rode that big banana ride on a cruise. You know the one that a speed boat drags a group of sun burned idiots around on. Anyway, like you , I held on with every muscle in my body. I absolutely hated the whole ride and couldn't wait for it to end. The next day I could barely move. All my muscles were screaming in pain!

Noelle said...

oh my goodness, pat! i laughed the whole way through this! stuck in reverse!

the funny thing is, the horse senses your fear and, being the prey animal they are, they get more fearful when you are scared! it was a losing situation, no matter what!

thank you for sharing! next time you ride a horse, it should be one of those in front of walmart that you stick a quarter in!

misslynda said...

Really FUNNY! And here's some more advice. Don't ever turn your back on a horse when you have sugar cubes in your back pocket to give to it. The horse might try to take them out of your pocket with you still in the pants - - - giving you a souvenir bruise of teeth marks on your backside! Maybe I was in high school that year?!!

Allen said...

Pat - I am sorry you had such a bad time with horse.

I on the other had just love them. I owned two Tenn Walkers. (John) was my favorite. He was genital old horse. I used to hug him every day. He and I would take long walks through the woods. Up steep hills and down them too. It was so nice to get away and just ride for hours.

The thing with horses is you have to be the one in control. If the since the fear in you, then they have the control.

(Mira) was a nasty horse. He was a young one. She was head strong. If you wanted her to go right she would fight you to then end. I had a guy tell me to take a baseball bat to her. Since I dont believe in that kind of thing. I never did that. I did however buy a plastic woofal ball bat. It got her attention, but did not harm her.

Gosh I miss my (John).

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

This one truly deserves the overworked ROFL. I have tears in my eyes. And my butt hurts just from reading this.

otin said...

There are humor bloggers and people who try real hard to be funny, but you are just one of the most naturally funny people in the blogosphere! hands down!

Lindy MacDuff said...

Beautiful creatures, but I don't ride 'em either. Thankfully, my experiences haven't been quite as traumatic as yours. Glad you're still in one piece!

SquirrelQueen said...

There are tears running down my face from laughing so hard, great post Pat. Horses are beautiful to watch, at a distance. But we just don't get along with each other.

Betty said...

Haha,Pat hilariously hilarious !Hat's off.
thanks for the laugh.And i love horses, so proud animals!love:)

Carletta said...

You write brillantly!
Laugh with you not at you.
The first time I was on a horse I was thrown off. I got on one next time many years later and hated it.

DragoonPrincess_heart33 said...

Those horses werent that bad you just didnt know how to ride. You shouldnt ride on trails and stuff if your a novice to riding. And if some one knows that and puts u on horses like that they are IDIOTS. The horses arent at fault for this nor are you, its the owners. I love horses and had always wanted to ride and do stuff with them, So i begged my dad to take us to lessons and finnaly when i was around 11 he did. i whent for 5 years before we finnaly talked him into letting us get our own horses. Im 15 now and own a sweet crazy fun lil Quarter Pony/Arab bay Gelding. He behaves really well for me and we get along so well. he has never shown signs of bucking or kicking me. But when my sister cantered him the other week he bucked her off on a hill for some reason. Maybe he doesnt like other riders anymore cuz ive been the only one riding him for awhile?
lets just say- if u are new to riding DONT ride a horse ur unsure of. Take lessons first then do riding. And That Matt person only had to pull away from the plants or use leg pressure. and maybe some clicking/kicking if horse wasnt moving. and if ur horse starts backing up just let go or loosen the reins. u should have a tight enough grip to have some control but not so tight that they think stop or back. and backing up is a trust issue. Im surprised the horse backed. Guess he trusted u. To Author and anyone one else- riding is great and fun but only if u know how to ride and know about horses BEFORE u get on. Good Luck and hope Things like this dont happen often
-god bless u