Tuesday, January 31, 2017

A Tale of Two Horses

Once upon a time, my late evil-stepfather owned a huge piece of property ("The Farm") out in the boonies of Tioga County, Pennsylvania. From about age 14 - 19, I spent many a long weekend up there with Mumsy, Lil Sis, Stepdad and his evil spawn, his and Mumsy's friends, and whatever one of my friends or cousins was lucky enough to be able to tag along. We rode around on the four-wheelers with total disregard for our own safety, played with rifles and shotguns, drank a lot, hung out in the hot tub in the middle of winter, ran from mountain lions (yes, they do exist in Pennsylvania and I do not care what the *experts* say to the contrary), and generally ran amok.

Before smart people stopped making Stepdad's business decisions for him, he had rather a lot of money and liked spending it on extremely frivolous things. Some time before we started visiting The Farm regularly, he decided to purchase two retired race horses.

For those of you unfamiliar with horsemanship, there is a very very large difference between the horses trained for showjumping and putting up with rich children, and racehorses. Also, much like pigs released into the wild, some horses left unridden and free to wander a lot of land without human interaction for a long period of time can go from tame to feral rather quickly.

So Stepdad--who knew absolutely nothing about horses--purchased two retired racehorses and basically left them to wander The Farm as they pleased. For like two years. They had access to the barn for food and water and shelter when they wanted it, but no one really went near them except for the blacksmith who came every few months and groundskeeper who made sure they had fresh food and water in the barn.

Upon arriving at The Farm the first time, Mich was told that the horses were unrideable, and that under absolutely no circumstances was I permitted to even attempt to ride them.

Naturally, Mich was determined to ride them.

Mumsy, however, was by then very wise to my inclinations with regard to wild horses, and so I did not get an opportunity to try riding the racehorses for quite some time. Until one day, when Mumsy and Stepdad and their friends decided to have lunch with some other friends in a town forty minutes away.

The moment their car drove out of sight, I sprinted for the barn. Shatoya, whose parents were staying at the farm that weekend, decided that she would also like to try riding a wild horse. We had a surprisingly easy time luring the horses out of their field and into the barn. They also stood still while we saddled and bridled them. I am pretty sure they knew exactly what they were doing and thoroughly enjoyed leading Shatoya and me into a false sense of security so they could do a better job traumatizing us later.



We did at least wear helmets. I'm not totally stupid.

I gave Shatoya a ten-second lesson on the basics of riding a horse, we mounted up, and off we went outside.

Any of y'all ever watch horse racing? Ever notice how when they're not galloping down the racetrack, each horse walks around tethered to a second horse? That's called a companion pony, or a lead pony. It's basically the racehorse's service animal to make sure it doesn't go totally freaking insane for no reason. Because racehorses are

TOTALLY

FREAKING

INSANE.

Our horses would not listen to any commands. They just wanted to alternate between leisurely exploring the fields outside their paddock, and RUNNING. I knew how to ride a horse at full gallop, but Shatoya had never so much as gone on a ponyride at a carnival. By the grace of God, she somehow managed to hold on, and actually enjoyed herself (although she told me later she was equal parts exhilarated and terrified).

So we had a grand ol' time hanging on for dear life while our horses galloped all over The Farm.

But then

Mumsy and the other adults came back.

Her reaction was more or less what I expected.



I was actually quite impressed she managed to stay in the car what with all the flailing and swearing.

It took us rather a long time to get the horses back to the barn. Shatoya ended up getting off her horse when he was standing still and leaving him to find his own way home. He wandered back to the barn eventually, and seeing him going home, my horse also decided that she'd had enough adventure for one day.

Back at the house, Mumsy shouted herself hoarse. Lil Sis threw the mother of all tantrums because why did Mich get to ride the horses and not her? Mumsy shouted some more. Shatoya's mother shouted a bit. Stepdad and Shatoya's stepdad laughed. The groundskeeper decided that Mich was some kind of witch.


A few months later in Ireland, Mich managed to ride Anorexic Auntie's wild horse (she got him as a baby, but then sort of lost interest and never trained him). This time with no saddle or bridle. I'm pretty sure the whole of County Galway heard Mumsy shouting.

14 comments:

  1. Great story! and how are you still alive? Why was step-dad evil...wait, I don't think I want to know.

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  2. I'm sorry you had an evil stepdad, but this story is great. My mom would have screamed, too. And she did. Often.

    Love,
    Janie

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  3. Cool story, what fun! Glad you both survived...

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  4. I'm not sure if letting the horses run wild was good for them or not. And I'm shocked that you got your friend who had never been on a horse before to go along with this plan. But it sounds like a fun day. Although, I completely understand why your mother went ballistic.

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  5. Oh, my! Your poor friend with absolutely no riding experience made it out alive (and you as well)! I can't imagine how fast a running horse could be. Like Shatoya said, it must have been exhilarating & terrifying!

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  6. I've ridden a horse only once. It was one of those lame canyon tour groups where everyone's in a line and the horses just walk very slowly. That was still pretty exciting, all things considered. I don't think I'd have the cajones to ride a wild retired race horse, even with proper supervision. You guys were badasses. What a cool story.

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  7. "with total disregard for our own safety," as things should be. always.

    "played with rifles and shotguns, drank a lot, hung out in the hot tub in the middle of winter, ran from mountain lions." mountain lions. okay, that might be a bit more than i expect from a 14 - 19 year old. also, drink? bad Mich. also, shotguns? bad, bad Mich. but... i so vouch for that hot tub. just watch out for Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

    "he had rather a lot of money and liked spending it on extremely frivolous things" i think i might be related to this man.

    i am very unfamiliar with horsemanship. though horseback riding is extremely popular in this country... so much so that my college has a club for it. and the doctor thought to remind me today that people come in with many fractures because of being stupid when riding a horse.

    your retired racehorses remind me of My Little Pony. i know i am stating the obvious.

    i nearly fell off a horse without it even moving. so the fact that your friend held on was... extremely admirable.

    "The groundskeeper decided that Mich was some kind of witch." you are magical.

    "I'm pretty sure the whole of County Galway heard Mumsy shouting." if i was drinking something, i would've spat it out.

    this was so entertaining to read. so so.

    hope you're doing well! love you xxx



    -Sam Lupin

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  8. I am thoroughly impressed, but I'm also wondering if I remember that a horse is responsible for your general lack of equilibrium?

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    1. You remember correctly. That horses's name was Mephistopheles, and that incident actually happened 3 or 4 years before this...... No, I do not learn. xD

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  9. A haha that is awesome. I mean you really were crazy to do that but you survived so it's a funny story. You should write a kind of autobiography, crazy things you survived.

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  10. Maybe a kind of comic book, like the Far Side meets Hyperbole and a half, about the crazy things you do, your cats do, old childhood stories.

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  11. As much as I'd love to ride horses I think I'll stick to the nice, tame ones, rather than trying to ride a wild one. I knew someone with a farm but sadly no horses. She had sheep but she wouldn't let me ride them.

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  12. YOU are a wild horse Mich...and I mean that in the best way. I'm amazed at some of the bold/daring/insane things you've done, and I second Regzig's comment that you should write a book/comic book series. How are you still alive? lol.

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  13. comment reply:

    "althea-and-mugwort tea" i had to look up what mugwort was i won't lie. did you see anything from my future?

    "Müller make some delicious desserts disguised as yoghurts."
    i want to try this:
    https://www.muller.co.uk/nc/our-brands/mueller-yogurt-desserts-brands/product-details.html?tx_isotopeproducts_detail%5Bproduct%5D=82&tx_isotopeproducts_detail%5Baction%5D=show&tx_isotopeproducts_detail%5Bcontroller%5D=Product&cHash=1851a243a29b6a96224e6cd21cda5cd4
    and this
    we have the vanilla custard and normal one that i will eat. i'm not a fan of fruit in my rice pud.

    "People are going a bit overboard with this fad of *healthy* foods. Why can't we just eat almonds and peanuts without making them taste like garbage?" cause peanuts and almonds are so good. i can't stop at just a handful. so make it taste like shit so you can't eat more than one without gagging.



    -Sam Lupin

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We say whatever we want to whomever we want, at all times.