When I was 6 years old I had a good friend named Bobby.
We, like most young boys thought we had the world as our
own. We were constantly striving to find new things to do and try in our new found
world of our little residential block.
For a least the first year that we knew each other, we were not allowed to cross the small
narrow street on our own, without one of our parents to walk us across. Many times we set on the
curbs, he on one, me on the other, and yelled and talked to each other from our own sides of the street.
After a few months of pestering our parents, we were finally trusted and allowed to cross the street
to each other's house as we saw fit. The adventure begins about here.
Not far from both our residences there was a veterinarian by the name of Mr. Worthington, who lived
on the fringes of town; the fringes being just over the top of the hill of our street and a little down
the other side, the countryside began. The Vet had two small Shetland ponies in the front acreage of what
was his fenced, front-side yard. Bobby and I always wanted to ride the ponies, but never had the authorized
chance to do so. It had never occurred to us to ask or seek permission.
One day we decided that we would sneak to the end of our street and walk over the hill, and out of town,
to the vet's home, what would have been the equivalent of about 1000 yards.
We arrived at the field with the Shetland ponies and could see that they both were wearing halters. The
ponies were equal to us to full size Clydesdales compared our small frames, both of us being smaller than
average for our young ages.
After watching the horses milling about the field, and determining the vet and his family were probably away
from the house, we decided that we were safe to attempt our nefarious plans.
Our plan was for one of us to climb the fence, get as close to one of the horses as possible and attempt to
grab the side of the halter, swinging up and onto the back of the horse in our best Tonto, Indian style.
It was mutually decided that I would be the first to attempt the feat.
As the horse approached our hiding place, I made my move and scrambled through the barbed wire and approached
the horse. This was going to be easy. The horse seemed piqued by my presence and slowly ambled over to me.
I gently reached out and petted his snout, grabbed the halter and much to my own surprise was able to mount
At that point everything suddenly went into maximum overdrive. No sooner had my butt landed on his back
when it seemed someone opened a starting gate I hadn't realized I was in, and the horse was off to the races.
All I could do was to grab the halter and hold on for my dear life.
After about ten seconds at full run and thinking I had triumphed in our plans, I lost my calm and realized
the horse was heading directly towards the center of a thorn bush the size of a small house, and to me, seemed to be
winning whatever race he thought he was in. At the point of absolutely no return, and when I was sure I'd be
shredded beyond recognition, the horse bolted sideways, minus me, leaving me to zoom into the ground at about
the same speed he had been running. His back hooves scraped my chest as he charged on past me in his turn to
avoid the bush. Dazed, confused, bruised, and wearing a lot of the field on my face and arms, I looked
sheepishly towards where I thought my partner-in-crime Bobby was, and yelled, "I'm o.k., it's your turn!"
He replied without any hesitation, "You're crazy!"
I crossed the field on very shaky legs, trying my best to act like I was really cool, my mere survival
changing into courage, as I put on my best John Wayne, and returned to the barbed-wire and bent over and
climbed through to a much safer world. We exited the field, Bobby quietly walking and who would not meet my eyes,
thinking that I was going to try to cajole him into his turn!
I felt a lot smaller than when I first arrived at that field, all of about fifteen minutes prior, and was
thanking whatever God and Jesus I knew at that age, I was still alive. Neither of us said another word about
the incident or much else, as we slowly went back up and over the hill, to return to our homes. We never mentioned
horse-back riding again.