Robert (gurdonark) wrote,

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Riding Blackjack

We took our friends and their 21 month old to a farmers' market today. There was a petting zoo, and a pony ride. Our friends rented a fifteen minute ride on Blackjack, placed their daughter on the saddle, and we began to lead the pony past all the petting zoo pens filled with kid goats and lambs and somewhat indignant chickens. Shetland ponies can be temperamental, but Blackjack
walked the paces like the sort of champ who can carry a 21 month old being braced into place by a watchful parent. Bella, the child, was on her first pony ride. She was far too wide with wonder to express a like or dislike or fancy about the experience. She was at one with the pony (or she was thinking about chocolate, or what have you--can't claim to be the proprietor of the Psychic Toddlers' Network). It's a bit tried and true to miss that sense of wonder, but I do miss it, a little.
I remember pony rides on ponies both placid and unwelcoming.
Cheap metal cowboy guns, cute felt cowboy hats, boots which only lacked "real spurs". I remember being 10 or 12, in a county fair, where they turned us all loose in a corral full of calves, to try to pluck dollar bills from the calves' tales. My mother has a picture of me at 4, on my first date as consort to "Little Miss Sunbeam", in a "pageant" in tiny Sparkman, Arkansas (pop. 300).
I remember looking at distant nebulae on a cheap plastic reflector ordered from Montgomery Ward's catalog for a really big xmas gift.
I remember being a young teen, being thrown from my grandfather's old horse, the delicious thud of an unhurt body bouncing on the ground. My old friend to whom I wrote an unwise e mail about long ago soap operas wrote me that she's riding fierce horses near her rural place in Virginia. I have no real desire to go to the nearby Frisco Horse Park and plunk down the 25 dollars an hour for
a trail ride, but there's a little part of me that wants to treat everything I do like a gentle ride on a quiet horse.

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