My Gift-horse

I scanned this picture, remembering–

mm . . .                                  remembering how Goldy made me hate riding,

how my enchanted love was turned to fear                   and disdain

in one youthful summer and fall.

What my grandpa was thinking,                I’ll never know.

Is it that     throw ’em in the pool and see ’em swim     kind of instruction?

Was it an ignorance of what thirteen-year-old horse lovers know?

Was he trying to cure me to give my parents a moment’s peace from begging?

Well, it worked.                                         Cured!

To a furious lover of all things horse,

he gave me an animal that required a choke bit                  and blinders

because she was hard to control       and           reared at every groundhog hole.

And now here is poor sister,        having mounted,                       excited for a first ride:

Goldy petulantly tears off through the front field, across the drainage ditch,

on and on;           and on and on and on and on;

and when sister jumps off at a brief stop [[by the fence near the railroad tracks]],

Goldy chases her already terrified skinny form so that she scrambles [[]]]

across the fence                   –breathe, gasp, cry~~~~

to escape being bitten.

This was my temporary gift while Goldy was with foal.

This was my grandpa’s way of making me accept responsibility          –maybe.

The capstone to my horse dreaming:  a call on the phone.

11 o’clock at night.                                     A dark night.

An angry German-neighbor-type call

who did not appreciate said tyrannical mare toughening up black angus beef

by chasing cows                                         back and forth—>

and back and forth                     through his German-neighbor-type fields.

Imagine a now just fourteen-year-old girl,

in the dark,                   chilled,                          in pajamas,

crossing the fields (the ones with groundhog holes!)                            –scared and alone,

bridle in hand,                            retrieving her demon                under German scorn.

This was my temporary gift–a gift horse.

This was my grandpa’s way of blessing me                    –maybe.

Is it any wonder that my heart  **rejoiced**   when Dad’s milk inspector

said the horse had to go                   –couldn’t house cows and horses together.

Taints the milk.                       Aw . . .

I heartily agreed.                 She had already tainted my soul!

About apronheadlilly

wife and mother, musician, composer / poet, teacher, and observer of the world, flawed Christ-follower
This entry was posted in Family, Photography, Poetry, Thoughts, Writing and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to My Gift-horse

  1. selah says:

    that brought back memories for me also.. my first horse, albeit I bought him when I was 19, also reared quite frequently.. a few bad falls, a kick between the eyes, a runaway, and he was sold.

    • My first riding experience with a school friend was so positive–wonderfully tame sweet horse–it fueled my passion. But Goldy killed it for sure.

      • selah says:

        it was opposite for me.. 2 years after selling that other horse, I bought one that was well-schooled and she was just perfect for me.. I had many happy times with her.

  2. This a great story. Bad experience with a new horse is nothing new. I had the same happening to me. 🙂

  3. m5son says:

    Very nicely done.

  4. Dor says:

    Oh, I am so sorry you had this horrible experience. The memories are obviously searing and not only about the horse and your first harrowing ride, but about your grandpa’s misguided ideas about introducing you to what? What could he have been thinking? Not even his motives can actually be determined so your fear and disappointment go on. Lilly, this is beautifully written. I read it through and agonized right along with you.

    • What’s even more interesting is that the first horse I ever sat on (I was even younger) was a stalled unbroken colt. My grandpa put me on him and scared me half to death with his bucking. I loved my grandfather, but some of these things make me wonder what his rationale was.

  5. No better way to get your seat then to learn to stay on! Thanks Grandpa ! 🙂 What an interesting experience.

  6. Great story. I will add it to the several “gift” horse stories I have heard over the years. None of them positive by the way. 😉

  7. susanpoozan says:

    What a horrible experience, your grandfather must have been muddled in his thinking.

  8. muse4me says:

    Great prose. Sounds like both you and the horse were being abused. Neither of you got over it but you handled your fear and anger in a more socially acceptable way. A mean or angry horse is dangerous. I don’t like your grandpa.

  9. These beautiful animals are truly wonderful, but their size, power, and natural prey mentality should never be taken for granted. A guy once told me that he, someone who nothing about horses, was put on a stallion. All I could think was, “what in the world was the owner of the horse thinking?” It makes me a little sad every time I hear how someone has been ruined from ever riding, because someone irresponsibly put them on an unsafe horse. None the less, I always enjoy how you express the events of your life.

    • The horse I learned on was so gentle, that engendered the love affair. But I really don’t know why my grandpa loaned me Goldy. She was so unfit for a young person, especially inexperienced. I will never understand.

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