*or, My Grey. Today I am not going to delve into the joys of the Anguish Languish and the assorted ways of doing write right. Right?
Or I could say, “Tally ho!”
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The Cowboy was my first boyfriend, my first marriage, my first divorce. And because of The Cowboy, my first horse.
Ladies and gentlemen, for the first time on this stage, it brings me great pleasure to introduce, Big Swede!
Or just Swede. Or Swedums: a variation of Sweetums of Muppet Puppet fame, who whose star was rising about the time my wonderful grey/gray guy came into my life.
As a girl, sure, I wanted a horse. Obsessively so. Which I think is a basic rite of passage for young girls, isn’t it? Black Beauty, National Velvet, the Marlborough Man all had an influence, for better or worse. I grew out of it, eventually.
When, in my late teens, I met The Cowboy, he boarded his horse at a farm north of Waterloo. It wasn’t too long into our relationship before I bought a horse of my own. Swede stood 15 hands, had a wonderful disposition, especially ideal for me, a rank beginner at horseback riding.
He had a mixed pedigree, some Arab, some Quarter Horse. Didn’t matter to me, though. We were not into showing horses, just riding the trails.
My first solo ride did not end well. Swede knew he was dealing with an amateur.
The ride started out fine. We slowly rode down the lane to the cornfield behind the barn. We successfully crossed the clunky board bridge over a creek. Turned right along the water, and then left along the perimeter of the knee-high corn. Swede started to fidget and fuss, to slow down, and finally he stopped altogether. He wanted nothing more to do with the ride, or maybe it was the rider.
The moment we turned back toward the barn, he bolted full-speed along the corn row. He reversed the trail – right at the creek, left at the bridge, and finally he cantered back into the yard where The Cowboy noted with alarm that the rider did not return with her horse.
I was in the creek, two turns back. Physics, you know. Horse turned right, but unsuspecting rider continued on the trajectory into the drink.
Today, it surprises me to report that I did not give up riding. I got back in the saddle, literally, after I recovered my dignity and from the whiplash injuries.
Eventually, Swede and I managed to respect each other. I recall those days with The Cowboy with fondness. I loved him to bits, actually, and used to dream about him. He and I had a connection that ran deep.
Oh! I should clarify: I’m talking about Swede, not the boyfriend!
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Inspired by Ann Coleman and her lifelong attachment to horses – china or otherwise.
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