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
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.
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.