It doesn’t take much to make kids laugh. That’s what I was thinking about while I was sitting here with my tea and chocolate chip cookie. I have a large “toy” horse that is covered in a bright multi-color Pendleton fabric. I took it to my reading class one day and hid it under a make-shift circus tent. The next week, there was just a chair under the tent and the next week there were several Teddy bears. This all ties into worksheets that I have been giving the fourteen first graders. The kids were very eager to see what was under the tent. All I’d do is pull away the tent at the end of class, after they have guessed what is under it, and when they see, even just the chair, they whoop and are delighted.

I thought back to when I was a child, in the 1930’s, and a man came around the neighborhood with a pony and a little dog. A parent would pay for a photo of the child wearing a cowboy hat while seated on the pony. As a child, it was thrilling. I’d love to show you the photo but I’m not computer-savvy enough to download it.

When I was in high school, I went to Colorado with two friends and the parents of one. Somewhere there was a full-size fake horse rearing up on his back legs and each of us girls had our picture taken sitting on it. I don’t recall doing that but I also have that picture.

After I was married, my husband and I went to a small ranch in Wyoming that had horses for visitors to ride. Before we went, we took riding lessons on Western saddles. We went on trail rides in Wyoming and it was fun. The cowboy who guided us was named Curly. It’s true.

After we returned, we began taking riding lessons on English saddles. Big mistake because there’s no saddle horn to hang onto. One day in the ring with a bunch of other horses and riders, we were suppose to canter (for the first time). In case you don’t know about that, it’s the step just before you gallop (that’s fast). I was on a 17 hand high horse (that’s big) and suddenly he moved about two inches to one side. As I went to correct, he moved more the other way and off I went, sliding right down the side onto my head (covered by a helmet). Fortunately it had rained a lot the day before and the horses had chopped up the ground so it wasn’t so hard as it might have been. The lenses popped out of my glasses and I’m no more brain damaged than I was before I fell, but without glasses, I thought I was blind.

I don’t ride horses any more. There’s no gearshift and no brake pedal. I can put up with reins instead of a steering wheel but I want to be able to control how fast I go and when I can stop.

It seems that just about everyone has some horse tale to share. I’d love to hear yours.

COMING NEXT: An Apple A Day Helps The Kiddies Play


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