Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Suddenly breaking into a run, Stormy took off at a fast clip up the hillside. I held on as well as I could, bouncing up and down in the saddle while I maintained a death grip upon the pommel with one hand. I held the reins with my other.

Branches from the close-in spruce trees on both sides of the trail lashed my face. I was reviewing my life as it flashed before my eyes when I remembered the advice my cousin Liz gave to me before we left the meadow of her Colorado high-country home about turning Stormy in a circle if he started to get away from me.

You see, Stormy has attitude. He doesn't brook fools or tenderfoots. I might be a fool too, but I clearly was a novice, not having been on horseback for thirty years. As passing evergreen limbs threatened to sweep me off of Stormy's back, I pulled back on one rein.

Before the ride, Liz had saddled Stormy for me and offered to get a footstool so I could use it to mount the gelding. That's western-speak for, You're a dude, man.

I declined the stool but I did take Liz's advice about demonstrating who was in charge to Stormy. Before I climbed aboard, I spent a minute pressed in close to the big horse, leading him around in a tight circle by gently pulling his halter to one side and forcing him around with my body. Now as the hilltop loomed, I viewed that as a minute well spent.

Stormy's head came around in response to my pressure on the bit and he went into a turn. He slowed down to a walk.

Liz, who rides every day, trotted up on her horse and said, "Well done, Peter. Stormy tested you and now he respects you." I just beamed for the rest of our slow and peaceful ride through the beautiful and quiet National Forest, observing deer and wild turkeys and passing over bear scat.


Rainmaker said...

Good to see you went about ascerting your manliness. And you won.

Tomas said...

Ha ha... I really enjoyed reading your post, growing up around horses I rode regularly. Such an enjoyable experience, now only riding with years between each ride it is still amazing (at least untill the next day when you try to avoid frequent sitting down and standing up!) Hope your ankle heals up quickly!


Just_because_today said...

even animals try to test us! Very enjoyable post. Glad you didnt get hurt. I would have been holding on to a branch by now

ShirleyPerly said...

Hmm, one time I had an old horse named Jellybean that seemed to do the opposite and not want to go. Maybe it was testing me too.

Sounds like you're having fun out there!