As a kid, I loved being swirled, twirled, lifted and tossed. (I’m not sure if I still like having these things done to me since I have been too heavy to swirl, twirl, lift and toss for quite some time.)
Because of this love for rapid movement, I was given a spring-loaded rocking horse for Christmas one year. (Probably because my family was sick and tired of having to swirl, twirl, lift and toss me themselves.)
I don’t remember much about being 3 and 4 years old…but I do remember riding that horse every day.
And by “riding,” I mean “careening back and forth as vigorously as humanly possible.”
During one of these strenuous rides, I lost my grip and was thrown from my horse, landing nose-first against the sharp corner of a nearby coffee table.
I screamed. I cried. I bled.
And the next day I got back on the son-of-a-bitch…with strict instructions from my Momma to be more careful for the love of God!
(For the record, a hairline scar still resides under my right nostril–my trophy from the incident.)Eventually, the springs gave out on my old rocking horse and it would be another 12 years before I mounted a horse.
I had never ridden a real horse before and my only knowledge of these creatures was that they spooked easily and bucked people off their backs at a moments’ notice.
So when my friend pulled me up onto the back of his old horse, I kept rehearsing in my mind how I would roll out of the way in the event the horse bucked me off.
He’s not gonna buck us off, my friend reassured me.
And then we came upon a pack of dogs. Not wild dogs. Just annoying, barking dogs.
Needless to say, the old horse got spooked and reared up on his back legs.
With Chuck Norris-like quickness, I hit the ground, curled into a ball and rolled over onto my feet into a ninja fighting stance.
Since that day, I have kept my distance from horses with the exception of carousels and Lord of the Rings movies.
I guess a noble goal to set for myself for the next 30 years of my life would be to conquer my fear of horses and become a master rider.
Or just learn Spanish.