I have friends that like to ride bicycles for exercise. I’m sure that it’s fun, and great exercise. Me, I’ve always been a horse lover. From the earliest I can remember, I wanted a horse. I was always horse crazy. I did manage to fulfill that dream, and had the most magnificent (in my eyes, anyway) jet black Hanoverian named Nardo. I used to get a kick out of people asking me why I did weight training to make my back stronger, to make me a better rider. They thought riding a horse is much like riding a bicycle, except that the horse is doing most of the work. Right. Obviously they have never had a 1500 lb animal between their legs, with a mind of it’s own. A bicycle responds when you turn the handlebars right or left. You know those reins you’re holding? Try steering with them on a cold, windy day, when the living being you’re sitting on feels like a coiled spring, ready to take off like a rocket for parts unknown.
A horse is big. If you fall off that bike of yours, it’s going to smart. Ouch. If you come off your horse, at speed…. Well, do the words “emergency room” mean anything to you? Even the most level-headed horse can spook at something. One of my friends had a Clydesdale, you know, the Budweiser horse. Abe. He was so cool. Pretty fearless, until one day while she was riding, they came across a snowman. Abe’s first snowman. We’re still looking for her.
My horse was fearless, also. Until the day a helicopter flew over our heads. At one show we were at, one of my friends was preparing to go into the ring for her test, on a lovely mare named Equity. And a hot-air balloon sailed by overhead. Oh. My. God. Unbelievable. Equity spent the entire 6 minutes in the ring looking up into the sky. I’m sure the judge had no idea what to make of that. Equity had a few other unfortunate encounters. One of the barn cats had taken a shine to my friend. It came into the indoor arena looking for her. It spied her on Equity. (Cue ominous music). It gauged the distance from one of the jumps in the ring to Equity’s ass. And launched itself. Poor Equity freaked out completely, bucking like a rodeo horse on steroids, while the cat hung on gamely, sinking it’s claws even further into Equity’s butt. I admit, here and now, in front of witnesses, I am a horrible friend. I was laughing so hard I collapsed. I was howling. Fortunately, my friend didn’t come off, and the cat jumped off. Equity, of course, was traumatized for days, looking for cats and hot-air balloons around every corner.
So all of us who ride HORSES rather than bicycles have been bucked off, bolted with, stepped on, and various other things, which is all part of the territory when you’re sitting on a living thing. That has a mind of it’s own, and is way bigger than you. Bigger than a bear. And definitely bigger than that puny bike you’re peddling around. If you want a real thrill, if you want an adrenaline rush, forget the bike. Get on a horse. And learn what it means to fly. And watch out for snowmen.