Continued from previous post...
Great uncle O raised cattle and occasionally took in ponies and horses to board on the farm. He became owner of a pony somehow….I’m really not sure. My great grandfather ridiculed him for making yet another bad trade; however, I do greatly appreciate the summer we had a pony to ride. We weren’t allowed to ride any of the horses or ponies that were boarded, but for a little more than one summer (until he got rid of it) we were free to ride O’s pony all we wanted.
I loved riding horses and rarely had a chance, so this was a grand opportunity for me. Unfortunately, the pony was mean-spirited. The previous owner had spoiled him with sugar, but I worsened the problem by using sugar cubes to lure him away from the barn so I could ride him. We had no saddle for him. Sometimes I was able to get a bridle on him, but it was hardly worth the battle. Usually, I’d lure him out to the edge of the field with sugar. Then while he was distracted by all the tall lush grass, I’d leap onto his back and grab onto his mane for dear life. He always bolted for the barn (sometimes he’d rear up first) and I quickly learned to jump off just before we got to the barn door because he always tried to rub me off. It was a wild, crazy, out-of-control ride and what fun to hear him snorting and to go galloping at top speed across the field.
One time, I lured the pony to the far side of the farthest back field. I was wearing shorts and a sleeveless cotton shirt, fortunately, a button-up shirt. With the pony in the farthest corner of the field and distracted by grass, I jumped onto his back. He took off like a rocket. Great fun at first, but then the pony went nuts when he approached the place with fence posts on both sides of the path between the fields. He spooked, dipped his head and bucked while making a sudden turn. I sailed off over his head and flew into a saggy barbed wire fence. One of the fence posts was rotten and broke off from the impact, further allowing me to entangle myself before I came to rest in the pasture. I was hopelessly tangled in the wire which gouged into my skin every time I moved.
I layed there a few moments assessing my situation and the damage, and thinking evil thoughts about the demon pony who I could see in the distant field contently munching grass as if nothing had happened. Blood and rips in my shirt brought dread to mind, and I began brainstorming about how to hide the damage. Blood meant the dreaded, burning Mercurochrome my grandmother would insist on using, and maybe even a tetanus shot. Extricating myself was clearly the first order of business. I untangled my hair from the barbs and freed my head. So as not to rip my shirt or skin any further, I carefully unbuttoned my shirt and worked myself out of it. My shorts were relatively unharmed, I only needed to unsnag one place, but barbs dug into my bare back as I did that. Free at last, I stood and scanned the countryside, hoping nobody would see me with my shirt off. I worked my shirt out of the barbs and while putting it back on, my heart sank when I realized the damage to the fence - I couldn't hide that! Sadly, I knew confession would be necessary.
The long ride – bad idea, and not one I ever repeated.