I have always loved horses. When I was a young girl, I spent all my time dreaming of them, pretending to ride them, looking for any opportunity to ride them, and drawing them all day long instead of paying attention in school.
When I was 14 years old, every day I rode my bike 7 miles to swim at a lake. On my way, I passed a horse tied in her front yard eating grass. Each day I stopped and gave her handfuls of the same grass she was perfectly capable of eating herself, but it allowed me to talk to her and pet her.
One day, the man in the house came out, told me her name was Daisy, and asked if I wanted to ride her. I immediately said, ‘Sure!’ He lifted me to her bare back and then wrapped her lead rope around her neck- attached only to a halter – no bridle. This was the first time I rode without a saddle or bridle, but would never pass the chance to ride.
She and I galloped around their small front yard. Round and round we went. Then, I had the bright idea to ask her to jump a small puddle. To my surprise, she said, ‘No, thank you’ and stopped. Unprepared for her abrupt stop, I slid over her neck and plop! Right down to the middle of the puddle I fell.
I didn’t let that deter me from my fun. I cannot remember how I remounted that mare without help, but I did. We continued to gallop around the front yard. When I finished my ride, I approached the man who owned her. As I thanked Daisy for the lovely ride, he asked- in a surprised and puzzled tone- ‘Did you fall off?’
‘Oh, no,’ I fibbed. I couldn’t figure out how he knew. Later I realized I was covered in mud. Big give away. I thanked him for the ride and we took the mare into the barn where she was given her supper. Above her stall door was a wooden sign with her name- Upsidaisy.
I had a great day with Upsidaisy. The next day, my legs were so sore from riding I could barely walk, but it was sure worth it.
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