“Go check out a lesson.”
These words were spoken to me by a riding instructor who has been teaching my daughter for three years at a nearby stable. I was considering whether to try this new one out and the current teacher was encouraging me.
Me, a city girl who has never been on a horse in her life and who can’t tell the difference in what the kid has been doing for the past three years unless I look closely.( OK not really, I just wrote that to suck up.)
So, as is my bent, when this observation was suggested, I scoffed at the notion and laughed.
“Are you kidding? Me? All this time, she looks like she’s been doing the same thing. I mean, what do I know about riding?” I asked.
This was the third in a series of comments made to me recently that have reminded me that I live in the country.
The first was last winter when I was racing off to the local ski hill to get the kids and an oncoming car flashed its lights at me. I slowed down, thinking that there was a breakdown and they needed assistance. The driver was a neighbor and she was warning me that there were two moose in the road, a mom and a ‘babe’. I squinted at her, but she was dead serious. I found this so strange that I would be stopping on a road to talk about a moose up ahead. The kids wanted to see it, so they begged to drive on right away. I thanked her, resumed driving more slowly this time and arrived at the mountain safe and sound without a moose sighting.
Later recounting the tale at work, several people remarked that that woman had saved my life, the lives of my children not to mention my car, and I agreed, but still…only in the country would such a thing happen. Where I come from, there is only one reason people flash their headlights; cop ahead. Here flashing could mean a critter in the road, a tree limb down, a wobbly kid on a bike, or just hello. After all these years, it still takes some getting used to.
The next thing that was said features my daughter and horses as well. I was picking her up from a visit to her former day care at a farm in and she was nowhere to be found. When she finally emerged, she apologized for being late and warned that she might smell as she was working in the barn.
Her exact words were,“ Mommy, I got to clean out the hooves!”
Even I know what is in the hooves of a horse, and I thought about smelling it for weeks to come every time I got into my car, but I figured, hey, she’s happy. Only a country kid could think of that job as a privilege. I went to dancing school, she goes to the barn.
I should have known it would come to this. My first ever visit to this area was on an Easter Sunday in late March two decades ago. I had consented to go on a drive with a guy nicknamed Farm Boy from college who said he lived ‘nearby’: relative terminology here- 45 minutes away. We pulled up and his dad came out and announced that two new lambs had been born that morning. My escort turned to me, asked whether I wanted to see them; I assented and we began to walk down the hill to the barn. He was wearing barn boots and jeans and his dad had on Wellies, but I was still in church clothes from going to holiday services. I was concerned about the butter soft Italian peasant slippers I had paid $60 (I loved those shoes.) for as well as the Indian silk dress I was looking cute in.
His dad told me the first of several whoppers to come over the years when he said, “It’s not that muddy. You’ll be alright.” But he was wearing boots, wasn’t he?
Reluctantly, I tippy-toed down the hill, holding on to Farm Boy’s arm. He led me to the barn door and his mom called to him from the stall of one of the new lambs. He entered at a trot, leaped over the wall of the stall and held up the black furry animal for my perusal.
“Isn’t he cute?” he asked.
Thinking, Eeeeeeeewww. Said, ”Cute.”
“Want to hold him?” he suggested.
Thinking, Not on your life. Said, “Uh… I guess.”
I stepped forward bravely to enter through the doorway, talking to myself the way people do when they are scared to death, sending out animal-friendly vibes so because I heard that animals can smell fear, inwardly chanting ”relaxrelaxrelax” and taking deep meaningful breaths. I took three steps around what I suspected was sheep poop and a loose, excuse me, free range chicken walked by.
Said, “I’ll be in the car.”