Head Over Heels in Love with a Horse

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAToday’s weather was too perfect. I couldn’t stand it. I saddled up Jake and had a talk with him about taking care of me and being the “perfect” horse so I could take my first horseback ride since shoulder surgery in late January. No one else was around to watch us. No one knew I was going riding. It was a calculated risk. I was trusting my horse.

Normally in spring, a horse is frisky. If the horse hasn’t been ridden in a while, he’s even more frisky.

In the field, Jake acted like any other horse with spring fever: he bucked, reared, pawed the ground. At feeding time, he bolted from the pasture to the feed bucket quicker than a Kentucky Derby colt running for the finish line.

But today, Jake listened to my request. Jake walked without incident on our first jaunt around the neighborhood. He was absolutely perfect, just as I asked him to be. Even when a motorcycle passed about ten feet away from him. Even when three noisy vintage sports cars rumbled close by.

Getting off wasn’t so bad. It was the getting off part that I didn’t know how to do with a bum shoulder. The fear of re-injuring myself while dismounting kept me out of the saddle. Instead, it turned out the hardest part was getting the heavy saddle up on him. He stood perfectly still while I awkwardly pushed the saddle up onto his back, mostly with my left hand. I struggled to tighten the girth.

Several years ago I fractured my tailbone and the T-12 vertebrae in a fall from a horse’s back. Due to that injury, now I have to mount a horse using a step ladder. It can be precarious, but if that is what it takes to get me hoisted into the saddle, so be it. That’s why it is important to have a good horse.

My arm is a bit sore now after the workout. I don’t care. I am a happy camper. I had my first horseback ride in months. I am head-over-heels in love with my horse. My Jake; what a good boy he is.


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