Monday, March 11, 2013

Back in the Saddle Again?!!

by Kate Collins

Horses have been my secret passion since my mother read BLACK BEAUTY to me as a six-year-old child. I was so in love with those big graceful animals that I used to beg my parents to let me keep one in the back yard. (We had a garage, we had grass, what was the problem?)

That hope destroyed, I  devoured every book about horses on the library shelves. I also had quite a collection of glass horses. And my old bike wasn't a bike at all. It was a horse. My best friend and I would ride our "horses" all around the  neighborhood solving crimes a la Trixie Belden and her friend Honey. (I was Trixie. There was never any argument about that.)

When I was seventeen, my best friend found a riding stable one town over, and we rented horses there twice. It wasn't a big deal. We were led along a trail by an experienced rider, but I was in the saddle! And then on our third trip, disaster struck. I was given a new horse who'd never been a part of a group. That horse, I soon found out, didn't want to follow single file through the woods. He wanted to be first in line and he wanted to run at a full out gallop. And then he decided he wanted to run at a full out gallop alone. Meaning minus his rider. Meaning me. So he started bucking to get me off.

At that point, I decided to make my exit, so I threw one leg over the horse's back to dismount just as he bucked again. I landed against a wire fence on my neck. Luckily, nothing broke but my spirit.

Where was the guide during all this trauma? Not helping me, that was for sure. Needless to say, I never went back. I was too afraid. But my love of horses never diminished. It just got buried.

And now I've discovered that a woman in my new neighborhood (if you've been following my blog, you may remember I recently moved) owns a horse. When I first heard the news, I was at a meeting with other homeowners and was listening to about five conversations going on around me at once. (This is a gift most writers have). And then out of all those voices, one sentence floated into the air above me and wrapped around the part of my brain that is still a six-year-old child: "I own a horse."

Practically elbowing people aside, I made my way to her and said, "You really have a horse? Can I see her?"

So tomorrow I get to visit a horse named Magic, who, I was told, loves people and loves treats and really loves people who give her treats. Who knows? Maybe I'll even be brave enough to sit in the saddle.

Is this love of horses a female thing?