Like many girls, I have always loved horses. When I was a young girl, my mother arranged for me to work at a horse farm on Saturdays in exchange for time riding. When I started working on the farm, the owner was home and directed my work. When I finished, she chose a safe horse for me to ride in a small riding ring near her barn. These were treasured memories and the riding thrilled me beyond words.
One Saturday, she was away at a horse show. I cleaned all twenty stalls in the barn – a huge accomplishment for a young girl. There were llamas in one stall and when I opened the door to clean their stall, they rushed past me and ran out of the stall into the horse pasture. I knew I needed to return them to their stall, so without thinking, I opened the pasture gate to herd them out of the pasture. Bad plan. Not only did the llamas come, seeing the open gate, the horses stampeded past me running into and through the barn to a field behind the barn. They were free and I could not stop them. What a disaster!
I had no idea what to do. I thought I lost all the horses. How would I explain this? Then, suddenly, they turned and headed back to the barn. Later I learned this is a usual behavior for horses to stay where they are fed. Happy to have them return, most ran back into the pasture. A few horses ran into stalls in the barn. I was able to return them to the pasture easily. The disaster that started with the llamas escaping ended with them returning to their stall.
When the owner came home, there was no trace of the trouble I had, however, she was amazed at the work I had done. She knew how much work went into cleaning all those stalls, but It didn’t seem like work to me. I was in heaven being around the horses all day and looking forward to a few minutes in the saddle. To tell the truth, I would have done twice the number of stalls to ride. She called my mother and made arrangements for me to spend the night because she had a surprise for me.
I was excited thinking of which horse she would choose for me to ride and how fun it would be to be to walk and trot in the small arena, but the surprise had nothing to do with riding. She took me to a car race. All I can remember is how bored I was sitting in the bleacher seats alone shivering, eating a candy bar, and watching those cars drive around and around the track. My mother never took me to her barn again, but eventually I owned my own horses and was able to ride any time I wanted.
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