In the movie ”Sherlock Holmes:A Game of Shadows“ Sherlock said this about horses, ”They’re dangerous at both ends and crafty in the middle. Why would I want anything with a mind of its own bobbing about between my legs.”
I couldn’t agree more. Here is my experience with horses.
In the summer of 1968, I eschewed the usual factory job and signed up to work at Camp Thunderbird in Minnesota. To earn a little extra money, I came a week early in order to help open up the camp. One of our jobs was to transport horses from a farm, where they’d been boarded for the winter, back to their corral at Camp Thunderbird.
One of the other workers had a bit of news during dinner that evening. ”We’ve got permission to take the horses for a ride.” Everybody but me thought it was a great idea.
As we were ambling over to the corral, I informed the others that I had only ridden a horse once before and suggested that water skiing would be much more fun. “Besides, won’t the horses be a bit frisky since they haven’t been ridden in eight months?” My new friends all claimed to be experienced equestrians and assured me that they would give me the gentlest of the mares. I pointed out that horses are very large animals and they wear steel shoes and —. They would hear none of it.
I stood around and fretted while my colleagues got the horses all saddled up. They decided that I should get Daisy, a gentle mare that would be thrilled to have me ride her and would happily follow the other horses as they walked slowly down the trail.
My friends mounted their steeds while I managed to haul myself up on top of Daisy’s saddle. The other horses began walking casually down the trail in an orderly single file, but Daisy just stood there. I tossed the reins around a bit, as I had seen cowboys do in Western movies. Daisy pranced a little but no forward motion was achieved. In desperation, I shouted to my buddies who were now about fifty yards down the trail, “My horse won’t go.”
One of them doubled back to help me while the others continued on their way. I offered to quit then and there so I wouldn’t spoil the evening’s ride, but my helper was determined that I share in the fun. He grabbed Daisy’s reins, started his mount down the trail and dragged Daisy and me along. He then told me he was going to hand me Daisy’s reins, and she would continue walking down the trail.
He did and she did – for about ten seconds. That was the amount of time that Daisy needed to ascertain that I had no idea what I was doing. At that point, she left the path and headed rapidly for the nearest tree, where she attempted to crush my right leg against the trunk. When Daisy sensed that I had foiled her plan by lifting my leg up on top of the saddle, she took off for a tree with low hanging branches. Even though I ducked my head as low as I could, my back still suffered a good scraping. Before the gentle mare could try something else to injure me, I jumped out of the saddle. When my pal came galloping up, I handed him my reins and announced the end of my horseback riding career.
As my friend lead devious Daisy back to the corral, I vowed to have nothing more to do with horses. I was able to keep my promise til the last week of camp.
Here is a list of books about horses including suggestions from my favorite bareback rider, Judy Falzon:
Black Beauty by Anna Sewell The horse is the story teller in this one. Beauty describes wonderful days on a country estate and tough times as a cab horse in London.
The Black Stallion by Walter Farley A boy and his horse meet on a ship, and then get marooned on a desert island.
National Velvet by Enid Bagnold A 14- year -old girl is determined to ride an untrained horse in the world’s greatest steeplechase.
My Friend Flicka by Mary O’Hara Ken spots a beautiful wild horse near the family’s Wyoming ranch and is determined to catch him and train him, but the job is much more difficult than he expected.
The Horse Whisperer by Nicholas Evans Annie Graves travels to Montana in hopes that Tom Booker can heal her daughter, her daughter’s horse and her own wounded heart.
Catch Rider by Jennifer Lyne Fourteen year old Sid has been around horses all her life. Although she hasn’t had any breaks in her young life, her luck changes as she gets to ride a top-notch horse in a big Madison Square Garden event.
Riding Lessons by Sara Gruen Once a world- class rider, AnneMarie’s career was ended by a tragic accident. Twenty years later, a jobless Annemarie comes back to her father’s horse farm accompanied by her troubled daughter. Is there any hope in her future?
Flying Changes by Sara Gruen The sequel to Riding Lessons has Annamarie dealing with romantic problems and worring about her daughter’s riding career.
Any mystery by Dick Francis All of his novels are involved in some way with horse racing.
Any of the Heartland series by Lauren Brooke The target readers for this series are girls who love horses.
Rita Mae Brown’s Foxhunting series These books are mysteries about, as you might expect, foxhunting.
Seabiscuit: An American Legend by Laura Hillenbrand Several quirky characters of the horse racing world play a part in developing an unknown horse into an American sports icon. Seabiscuit received more news coverage in 1938 than FDR, Hitler or Mussolini.
The Ultimate Horse Behavior and Training Book by Linda Tellington-Jones and Bobbie Lieberman The title says it all.
The Eighty-Dollar Champion by Elizabeth Letts A recent immigrant sees a horse on a truck headed for the slaughterhouse. Sensing potential, he buys the horse for eighty dollars and trains him to be a show jumper. Gradually, Snowman improves to the point where he is competing against the top thoroughbreds.
TEACHER : Donald, what is the chemical formula for water?
DONALD : H I J K L M N O!!*
TEACHER : What are you talking about?
DONALD : Yesterday you said it’s H to O!
TEACHER : Maria, go to the map and find North America .
MARIA : Here it is!
TEACHER : Correct. Now class, who discovered America ?
CLASS : Maria!
ATTORNEY: What is your date of birth?
WITNESS: July 18th.
ATTORNEY: What year?
WITNESS: Every year.
ATTORNEY: How old is your son, the one living with you?
WITNESS: Thirty-eight or thirty-five, I can’t remember which.
ATTORNEY: How long has he lived with you?
WITNESS: Forty-five years.
ATTORNEY: Now doctor, isn’t it true that when a person dies in his sleep, he doesn’t know about it until the next morning?
WITNESS: Did you actually pass the bar exam?
ATTORNEY: The youngest son, the twenty -year -old, how old is he?
WITNESS: Uh, he’s twenty
ATTORNEY: So the date of conception (of the baby) was August 8th?
ATTORNEY: And what were you doing at that time?
ATTORNEY: She had three children, right?
ATTORNEY: How many were boys?
ATTORNEY: Were there any girls?
ATTORNEY: How was your first marriage terminated?
WITNESS: By death.
ATTORNEY: And by whose death was it terminated?
ATTORNEY: Doctor, how many of your autopsies have you performed on dead people?
WITNESS: All my autopsies are performed on dead people.
ATTORNEY: ALL your responses MUST be oral, OK? What school did you go to?
ATTORNEY: Are you qualified to give a urine sample?
ATTORNEY: Doctor, before you performed the autopsy, did you check for a pulse?
ATTORNEY: Did you check for blood pressure?
ATTORNEY: Did you check for breathing?
ATTORNEY: So, then is it possible that the patient was alive when you began the autopsy?
ATTORNEY: How can you be so sure, Doctor?
WITNESS: Because his brain was in a jar on my desk .
ATTORNEY: But could the patient have still been alive, nevertheless?
WITNESS: Yes, it is possible that he could have been alive and practicing law.