jets was an old chesnut quarter horse, fourteen and a half hands high, just tall enough to escape being labeled a pony. people still called him a pony, though, but he was the best horse at the stable to give to a seven year old in purple zigzag tights from down the street. he was steady on his feet, experienced enough to know when you're not holding the reins correctly, but generous enough to give you good feedback when you were close enough.

while jets had a calm, plodding demeanor most of the time, he also had a weak spot for being startled. once, i was left alone to do drills in the barn on a rainy day. some birds had nestled into the sandy floor, and during one of my passes, they found our proximity offensive and escaped into the rafters. this, i hardly noticed, because the sudden rustle of wings sent jets up on his hind legs, screaming bloody murder, catapulting me fourteen and a half hands to the ground.

i was never hurt, but i was just as scared as jets was, scrambling to my feet before i stopped tumbling to make sure i was out of his way. i cried out of confusion and a sense of betrayal, that i had done nothing wrong but still ended up on the ground.

jets wasn't a tall horse, but i was still too small to climb onto his saddle without help. he stood calmly, as if nothing had happened, staring back at me quizzically while i struggled to get a foot into a stirrup.

i remember trying several times and failing, then abandoning jets to walk around the stable, sniffling though each door i found to try and find my riding teacher. someone else helped me back onto jets. i'm not sure if i ever told my mother this story.

05 February 2018 21:35

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