To this day, I don’t think I could explain my attraction to horses as a teenager. I can only stumble around at vague guesses of the underlying magnetism. I suppose some Freudian type would infuse my obsession with my nascent sexuality, but that just seems convenient and conventional psychobable. Besides, I want a second opinion from Jung anyway. I think he had much better ideas. But that is another story.
Here are my theories. Horses were BIG, I was small. They were powerful, agile, and could run like the wind. I was clumsy and a really bad runner, (still am). They had beautiful long flowing manes and tails. I had short curly hair that had a mind of it’s own. It took a really stiff wind to make my hair even consider flowing. Whipping around in circles was more like it.
In any event, these irresistible forces drew me into the field across the street from our house where the day before someone had turned out about six horses. I went out to see if I could bribe them into letting me touch them with carrots stolen from our refrigerator. The ultimate fantasy was to jump on one and hold on while he ran. Twelve year olds don’t have much in the understanding consequences department do they ? But this day, I would be content just to sit on a big rock with carrots and make friends.
My bribe worked. Pretty soon I was surrounded by six horses milling around trying to get in the best position for carrot hand outs. One of them sidled up to me in an alarming way. Sitting on the rock, my eyes were about level with his flank. He was a big brown and white pinto. The edges of his spots were all jagged, an unusual pinto. And had I been more experienced I would have taken better note of the white showing around his eyes. He pushed closer to me and I put out my hand to shove him away, right on his flank. Bad idea. He whipped around and kicked me off the rock. I involuntarily shielded my face with my arm, so it took the brunt of the kick. The horses thundered off and I picked myself up off the ground. My right arm wasn’t working properly so I cradled it with the left and headed for the house. I almost passed out on the way to the fence, but managed to make it home.
Well, I had a nasty broken elbow and spent the next several weeks in a cast. I was in the sixth grade at the time, and had to learn to write left handed. Which was actually kind of fun. I can still write rather decently with that hand, although the writing looks curiously like a sixth grader still.
Even after the six weeks of healing and the month of exercises after the cast was off, I was still in thrall to the horse spell. I was just a little more wary. I still went into fields with horses in them and one day I actually did get on my neighbor’s horse without as much as a string for a bridle and rode pell mell down the fence line. I was crazed. Horse crazy.
I finally did get my own horse a year or two later, and I stopped fooling around with other people’s thank goodness. After a few years, I sort of grew out of it. Very strange. Oh I still love horses, but I don’t feel the need to ride them or even hang out with them any more.
I got a good look at my old affliction though last summer when I spent a week with my niece who spent every spare moment, and a few we couldn’t spare, at the house next door where a neighbor keeps….horses. She knew all their names and ended up riding two of them before the week was up. At least this time we made sure she had permission. Yep, she has it too. The horse crazy gene. It must run in the family.