Our Memorial Day was pretty memorable, but not in the way that you think.
Retro Man and I were talking about presents for City Girl, whose birthday is coming up in a few weeks. We were trying to think of something unusual. Like black light bowling or something. But then we remembered that she isn't 9 anymore. She's going to be 17. Among the ideas we threw around was horse back riding. Yeah, that would be fun. We tried to talk to her about it. "That's cool", she said, "could I just get some money please?"
Hiding our disappointment, we acknowledged the truth. It's not that black light bowling or horseback riding aren't fun. It's that we're not cool. She's too cool for us. Showing up anywhere with Mommy and Daddy - especially for a party - is about the last thing she wants to do, birthday or not.
So we decided to go horseback riding by ourselves. It probably wouldn't be crowded on Memorial Day. Some day we hope to have horses at Tree Ring anyway, so we figured we should get in some practice.
City Girl went kayaking with her friends. I have to admit, that sounded pretty cool.
We got to the Stables, and I asked for a very mild, gentle horse since I'm a little crippled. The young handlers said, "Oh, you'll love Sophia. She's so gentle." and "She's my favorite horse!" Retro Man got a beautiful little Quarter Horse named Goldie.
Those are Sophia's brown ears in the picture. That's about as close as I ever got to Goldie. Sophia plodded along like she' rather be ..... damn near anywhere than on that trail. She went about 1/8 mile per hour, but she was very steady.
After a short time, Retro Man told the guide that came with us that she could go back to the stable now, we had it under control. "Are you sure?", I asked him. I'm thinking one small buck and I'm on the ground with numerous broken bones. I'm thinking Christopher Reeves. Handicapped people are really vulnerable.
"Oh yeah, we'll be fine", he said. The guide told us not to get off the horses, or they wouldn't let us back on. No worries, I thought. I can't get on or off without help anyways. She told us that the horses wouldn't go over the bridge because they know that it's the hour point and will only go back.
I swear no sooner did that guide turn the corner out of sight, when Sophia the "lovely" horse turned off the path and just stopped. Retro Man and Goldie were way far ahead at that point.
I yelled at Retro Man and told him Sophia wasn't budging and I should just call the stable girl back. "No, no, just give her a little kick", he yelled back. Well that's hard to do when one of your legs doesn't work, but I tried anyway. Nothing. I patted her on the neck and sweetly said "giddyup". Nope, she wasn't having any of it.
And then she turned her head and attempted to bite my leg.
First one leg, and then the other.
With stark terror and shaking hands, I pulled the cell phone out of my tank top bra and started dialing. I started whimpering. I was blind with terror. As I looked down to dial, I noticed a giant horse fly on my bad leg.
"H-ooooo-nnnn-eeee-yyyy, h-eeeee-lllll-pppp mmmm-eeee!", I cried as I desperately tried to shoo the fly away with the camera in the other hand.
Retro Man and Goldie galloped up to me like they were best friends coming to attend to an emergency. You know, just like in the Westerns - "Here I come to save the day". He hopped off his horse and grabbed Sophia's reins. She tried to kick him, but he jumped out of the way quick, then led Sophia and I into the shaded path, and hopped right back onto Goldie.
Just like that.
I was so jealous. Goldie loved him. Sophia hated me.
Sweet, my ass.
We got to the bridge that the stable girl told us about and I knew Sophia wasn't going across. Retro Man said he was going over no matter what. Sure enough, Goldie pranced right across, just like he asked her to. He went a short distance and then returned.
The rest of the trail ride was uneventful, thank goodness. Here is a picture of me with complete control of Sophia.
When we got home and told City Girl the story, she thought it was hysterical. I tried to tell her that the story is funny now, but at the time it was not. That made her laugh harder, which made me laugh at myself too.
During the story telling, Retro Man told me that when he went to get Sophia's reins, there was a bee on her nose and he brushed it off.
So then all night long I thought about poor Sophia. I misjudged her. She wasn't trying to bite me, she was trying to show me she had a bee on her nose so I could brush it off. I felt horrible. Sophia really was sweet.
My co-worker Heather, who grew up around horses, said no way. That horse was trying to bite you.
What do you think?