Riding Horses Near Owen Sound
The horse that they gave me was named Grace and she was unkind and bossy, like that aunt who never got married because she wanted to focus on her career. I had been on a horse only once previously in my life and that was a good thirty years ago, so it’s fair to say that I wasn’t brimming with confidence.
To compound matters the girl who was instructing me on how to ride had a speech impediment. It might have been that she was deaf, or that she had so many dental apparatuses in her mouth that verbal communication was next to impossible, but the result was that I couldn’t understand a thing she was saying. It was awkward, this, because I didn’t want to draw attention to something she was certainly self-conscious about, but I also didn’t want to give the Horse Explode command by mistake, so I politely asked her to slowly go through the instructions again– something that likely happened to her quite a bit. This made her angry and frustrated, and her instructions were now a reprimand shouted quickly from underwater.
I sat on Grace, who was banging my leg against a wooden fence.
I asked another ranch hand what the original girl had tried to tell me and she said, “Oh, Cathy is alright!” telling me nothing about how to ride a horse. It was my hope that the horse had plodded the little route my group was to take a billion times and that I would be safe, as I had just seen a dozen 10 year old girls return, all giggling and smelling of strawberries and sunshine.
I shrugged, received a dirty look from Cathy, who was probably 17, and fell in line at back of our horse train.
At the front of the line, as if to get back at me, Cathy flirted with a friend of mine who is good at everything and looks like he is good at everything.
“Ah your ah chawbay?” She asked him.
I wanted to be a cowboy.
I’ve always wanted to be a cowboy.
Grace was walking me into low hanging branches and pausing to eat grass.
Up ahead, where all my friends were, they were talking about good names for horses. Now this is something that is right up my alley. I live for moments like these.
Cathy, showing off by riding sidesaddle so that she could face everybody but me—who was way back and to the left–asked, “Wha bout Bella, is ha a gawd name?” I tried to shout out, “For a Twilight geek who wants to marry a vampire” but nobody heard me except Grace, to whom this apparently meant “Detonate.”
She tore off and I stated bouncing wildly around in the saddle, my left foot shooting out of the stirrup. I was completely out of control, like a British comedian, and then the horse slipped on a rock. I did not even know that horses slipped, and as Grace went down to her knees I leapt off her like I was fucking James Bond, and rolled across the trail like I was born to roll across trails, popping up like a ninja ready for combat.
Everybody, even Grace stopped and looked at me with amazement.
Cathy, stunned and with wide-eyes, stared, “Arh ya a cawhboy, too? Cuz ya dan look lie a cahbay, mahbe a jhockey?”