A Cowboy’s Faith: ‘Oh, to ride horseback’

buchmanhead“Can I ride your horse?”

The little boy came up to us after the barrel race at the state finals horse show with that request.

A bit hesitant, and desiring from our heart to oblige, but knowing the high risks involved, we initially said, “No. So very sorry.”

With head drooped, disappointment apparent, the boy started walking away, and we followed: “Well, you can ride Missy, if you let us lead her. Would that work this time?”

Attitude quickly changed, the 10-year-old required no assistance monkeying upon the mare’s back, while grabbing her reins at the same time.

Slightest touch to the horse’s mouth to her meant time to work, and she was ready to go, as we immediately told the young rider to let go of the reins and hold onto the saddle.

Always straightforward, as respectfully as we know how, we reprimanded the young rider, explaining necessity of gentleness and caution with a highly trained horse of such wisdom.

There was prancing in Missy’s step as the little rider, short legs far from reaching stirrups, hung tight on the saddle horn, while we led around outside the pen.

When the delighted rider dismounted, we told him we’d see if anybody else would let him ride their horses. But, he’d already asked them, with same response we’d made.

Biggest dilemma is we know exactly how the 10-year-old felt. When we were his age, we always wanted to ride a horse, and felt brokenhearted when we couldn’t. The few times we got to ride a horse during early childhood are our fondest memories.

There were horses on the grounds that likely it would have been fine for the boy to ride alone. But, most horses know their job and can be confused by inexperienced people on board.

Without intention, a horse can step on a youth, bump, or even affectionately nuzzle with a bit of pressure. After mounted, the horse could shy, back, run, possibly severely injure the rider, making the horse owner liable.

Reminds us of Revelation 9:19: “For the power of the horses to do harm is in their mouths and also in their tails, and it is by means of them that they wound people.” Still, we must restate: “The outside of a horse is good for the inside of a man.”


030615-franksmug2Frank J. Buchman is a lifelong rancher from Alta Vista, a lifetime newspaper writer, syndicated national ag writer and a radio marketing consultant. He writes a weekly column to share A Cowboy’s Faith.

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