I have been thinking about some of the things that stayed in my mind, that impressed me, and that I admired when I was young.
I believe there is an analogy with both my behaviour, and that of my pony, Johnny Boy. I have told the story about Johnny Boy in the story titled, Fun and Games on the Farm.
I will reiterate some of the important points of that story that relates to this story. Johnny Boy had been a Stallion for most of his life. If you are familiar or have been around Stallion’s generally, they can be difficult to handle, or perfect to handle, it depends on their temperament and training.
My experience with stallions is I found them to be very proud, even flamboyant in their behaviour and temperament. They were also very beautiful, and usually a picture of perfection in representing their breed.
Johnny Boy was a good example. He was the most beautiful Bay Pony, with a very long and thick mane and tail. He carried himself as one would expect of a very proud animal. He arched his beautiful neck , and held his tail high as he pranced and danced and showed off.
He was perfection itself when out riding, or in the Show Ring. You could not find more perfect behaviour, when performing or out in public view.
He also had what I might term, a happy, joyous, rebellious side.
When I first allowed him to gallop, I must admit I was shocked. Suddenly my perfectly behaved horse was bucking and ‘pig rooting’. Whoa, luckily for me I was riding bare back the first time this happened. That meant I was able to cling to him, with my legs stuck like glue to his girth. I wondered if something may have set him off, or he had been bitten by an insect , I was stumped, but did not give it a lot more thought.
It may have been a week later before I pushed him into another gallop, and sure enough, off he went again, bucking and pig rooting. We were galloping along a lane that ran down behind the House Paddock, behind the hill, out of sight of prying eyes of the adults, my parents.
I must admit I had harboured the idea of trying my hand at riding the bucking horses, like the professionals at the numerous Rodeo’s we had been to. My father had never allowed me to ride the hundreds of young horses that he broke into saddle and trained. So far, I had never been dumped by a horse, or come off one. I had prided myself on the fact that I clung to the horses like glue, that I would not allow them to buck me off.
Over the months that followed, I allowed and pushed Johnny Boy into a gallop at every opportunity. Johnny Boy was expressing himself, letting his hair down, showing me another side to his character. He was thoroughly enjoying himself, doing something he liked, showing me his wild side. I too found these escapades exciting. I could practice riding my bucking horse, and fine tune the twists and turns he added for extra excitement.
I could relate to my Pony and his behaviour. We were both trained to be on our best behaviour at all times, and we were proud of ourselves for this. We both also harboured a desire to rebel, and do something exciting, every now and again.
The galloping and bucking escapades was my secret for a long time. My parents would be shocked if they thought their little girl was involved in dangerous behaviour. My parents had no idea, well not that we knew of , of some of the tricks we got up to with our daredevil behaviour with our ponies and horses. My sister and I practiced being Circus Riders, out of sight of our parents.
I must admit I am not a real daredevil. Not in the sense that most readers may term as daredevil acts or behaviour. There is no way I would Bungy Jump, or jump out of an aeroplane, or any other extreme sports that spring to mind.
This was the same child, that hated feathers. Her siblings could bring her to heel, put the fear of god into her, just by pretending they had a feather in their hand, or that they would chase her, and even tickle her with a feather.
Where is the analogy then. Well, I too like to be on my best behaviour at all times. I also have a daredevil streak, but my daredevil acts are limited to what I believe are in a controlled situations. It is like a rebellious act of freedom every now and again. It is not a habit or regular act. It feels like breaking away from all the shackles and restraints we all wear, in our ordinary everyday life.
My father almost had a heart attack, the first time he caught me on my galloping, bucking bronco. Dad had no idea that the horse would behave like this, or that his little shy girl was in fact acting very competent under the circumstances. We took our time before being confronted by my father. We stayed out of his sight, until we thought he may have calmed down, and be ready to listen to my explanation.
I explained the whole story to my father, about my perfectly behaved pony, that liked to run free sometimes. I also owned up to my dream of being able to ride the bucking horses. We arranged a time for me to show dad the whole story, to show him how perfectly behaved and responsible both horse and rider were. when it suited us, and to show dad our other, our slightly reckless and daredevil side. Dad was a bit wary at first, but over time he came to respect my judgement, and complimented me on my horsemanship. I had been watching and learning from the best horseman and horsewoman in the business. They were my greatest mentors after all.
Like the proud and well-behaved Stallion, I too liked to run free, and shake the shackles of life off, every now and again.