How To Survive Around A Horse



In western movies, horses usually seem kind and gentle, but in the real world it's a

matter of survival and winner takes all. They are portrayed as being man's second best

friend. Riding a horse can be fun and an enjoyable experience, yeah, if you are in the

movies! At least that's how it is portrayed. It seems like a simple process, right?

Wrong. When trying to ride a horse in real life, it can be anything but that. I found that

out when I went to catch my horse, Joe. Joe is a true "normal" horse. When I attempt

to ride him, I must catch him, saddle him and try to stay on.

Catching Joe may seem simple to most people, but in reality it is actually a very

difficult task. Everyone must realize that my horse thinks that he is smarter than the

average person. Although it may not be obvious, I would swear that my horse is plotting

against me even as I enter the field. He has probably been up half the night devising a

plan to keep from being ridden the next day. When I get to the field, he comes up to the

gate to meet me. I assume that everything is a-okay until I reach up to take hold of his

halter. He lets me get within inches of achieving my goal, then shoots down my hopes of

a perfect day by jerking away and running. Now I must go and chase him down. By the

time I catch him and put the saddle on, he has succeeded in dragging me all over the field.

I am starting to look a little rough by this time.

If saddling Joe goes fairly well (seldom does), it appears that the worst is behind

me. The next step is to safely climb aboard. With my horse you can't simply put a foot

in the stirrup and swing up. First he must be distracted. Sort of take him by surprise,

such as the lure of a bucket of feed. When I'm finally in the saddle, the next step in the

routine is Joe's reaction toward my dog Rex. Watching my horse's reaction would lead

any person to believe that Rex is a ferocious predator ready to attack. I

must be sure to hold the reins tightly, but not so tight as to make the horse rear. After

falling in many piles of manure I have found this method to be effective. But sometimes

even the best methods do not go according to plan and I feel myself taking flight. It's not

the flying through the air that bothers me in fact I find it rather peaceful. It's the sudden

contact with the ground that I don't particularly enjoy. After this all I can do (after

regaining conciseness of course), is catch my breath and realizing that I must catch Joe

again.

Once again, after spending several minutes trying to catch Joe, I find myself back

in the saddle again and ready to ride. Now, Joe is tired of being chased all day and

refuses to move. First I try kicking him, but this does not work to any avail. All I

succeed in doing is making Joe mad. When I finally get him tamed back down, I

get off and start cursing the horse. This doesn't work either. I soon realize that this was

a big mistake when I feel a sharp pain shoot up my ankle. After looking down I see that

Joe is standing on my foot. He then turns towards me, looks down, and runs out

toward the open gate and toward the house all the time grinning an evil horse grin. Finally

realizing that nothing is going to work, and looking like I have been wearing the same

clothes for a week, I decide to call it a day.

I have learned from my mistakes, riding a horse isn't just jumping in the saddle

and ridding off into the sunset. It is very different from what the movies portray.

Another thing that is not shown in the movies is the physical pain of saddle soreness, the

stench of manure and the rest of the