Horses and Childhood Dreams: Times Past Challenge

This is my submission to Irene’s Times Past Challenge, and this month’s subject is: Horses and Childhood Dreams.

Baby Boomer – Tainan, Taiwan

I grew up in the city of Tainan. Back then, cows were used by farmers as transportation vehicles, so on the street, once in a while, we would see a cow pulling a cart of goods. The only pictures of horses I had seen were horses being ridden by warriors in battle fields (from history book, maybe); horses were not in my childhood dreams.

One day when I was in college, a classmate organized a trip to visit a horse ranch near school. Since I wasn’t crazy about horses, I didn’t want to go, but friends persuaded me to go. My first impression was: they are huge! I remember all the struggles we had for getting on a horse even with workers’ help. We would then ride in circles (not a big circle). When my horse started moving, I lost my balance and almost fell off. I was horrified. (How embarrassing that would be, I kept thinking.) I was tense, and didn’t enjoy the ride at all. When the ride was finally over, I was relived and happy.

(The photo was taken at the horse ranch. Behind us, you can see people riding horses in circles. Based on my expression, my guess is that this photo was taken before the ride.)

Many years later, when we visited the Bighorn Mountains, my daughter wanted to try horse riding. My husband and I looked at each other; each wished the other would take her. I even begged him, but no use. He was rather disappointing our daughter than riding a horse. “Since I survived last time, I am sure I could survive this time,” I finally said to myself.

Even though my first horse ride was a nightmare, it seemed like I had learned a couple of things from that experience. For one, I was able to stay on the horse! I felt relaxed 😉 However, my horse apparently knew I was an inexperienced rider; whenever we made a stop to look at the scenery, my horse thought it was time to eat. The tour guide said grasses are not good for horses, he told me to pull the horse away from grasses; I tried, but my horse totally ignored me. The tour guide told me to pull harder, but I was afraid to choke the horse. It took me several tries… Other than that, to my surprise, I enjoyed the ride a lot. That was what I thought…

We followed a mountain road up. To my surprise (another surprise), when we were ready to return, we went straight down the mountain. All I could see was the ground in front of me, not horse’s head! It was like riding a roller coaster in an amusement park. I am sure I said some bad words in my head, but no time to be upset, it was time to pray! Amazingly, we all made it down the mountain.

When we finally got off the horse, we walked like penguins. My daughter and I pointed at each other and laughed.

Everything was back to normal, until I felt a sharp pain on both of my knees on the next day. When we went to a restaurant for lunch, I hurried to sit down and didn’t realize the motion of sitting-down made the pain worse. I screamed. Of course, we had to explain to other customers what was going on. They all smiled.

This is my experience with horses. How about my childhood dreams? Sadly (or not), I can’t think of any. As a matter of fact, I have been thinking about my life a lot recently. Why my family was so poor, but I never felt we didn’t have enough? Why I never envy any of my friends who lived in a big house, wore pretty clothes? Why didn’t I have any childhood dream? Why don’t I dream (even now)? Could it be because I have had a previous life and I continue living as the person I used to be? 😉

Thanks for visiting my blog.


About Helen C

A retired computer programmer who loves writing and photographing, and has managed to publish a YA novel "Jin-Ling’s Two Left".
This entry was posted in Memoir, Writing and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to Horses and Childhood Dreams: Times Past Challenge

  1. carol1945 says:

    I love all your thoughts here. I was and still am terrified by the huge size of horses and their animal-ness. But my daughter loved horses from a young age, and learned to ride, and even bought a horse in her adulthood (when she was single!) My only childhood dream was to be able to ride on a raft down the Mississippi River like Tom Sawyer. Another one was to become a forest ranger because I loved camping and nature. Both were closed to me because of being a girl. It is great that times have changed, but I do not feel bitter about it the way some people do. That is just the way things were.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Helen C says:

      Thanks, Carol. You are more adventure than I am 😉 I would love to be a forest ranger but that thought came very late in my life 😉 I remember wanting to be a hermit… ha. But I don’t remember how old I was then.
      I think part of the problem is we didn’t have many things to stimulate our imaginations. Most people didn’t have extra money to spend. I didn’t think I read any books other than my text books until I was in high school (my best friend’s family owes a book store ;-). I didn’t know there was such a thing call library ;-( Oh well…
      Have a great day.


  2. loisajay says:

    Helen–I cannot remember ever being on a horse. Wait a minute! A horse on a carousel counts, right?! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Perpetua says:

    Good memories. Mine was on a rocking horse 🤗

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Rupali says:

    A lovely heart touching post Helen.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Marie says:

    Great story. Your poor knees. I only rode a horse once and the stirrups were too short so many parts hurt the next day. 🙂 I’m glad you decided not to become a hermit. We would have missed out on this charming story.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Helen C says:

      Thanks, Marie. Many parts hurt — you, too? I thought it was just me 😉 I don’t remember if my daughter had the same problem…
      Even now, every time I read a story of a hermit, I “almost” wish I were him/her. Ha.
      (I am not sure I an find your other comment. The weather was nice when we were in Virginia. The water was calm for several days — it didn’t happen on our previous trip, and I love seeing that. It seems like you had a great time in MN, too. I am glad.
      Have a great day.


  6. Lady Oscar says:

    I laughed and laughed while reading your horse riding part. Nice story, and wonderful experience!
    I have neve done anything like that! Good for you~ ^^

    Liked by 1 person

  7. restlessjo says:

    You all look lovely in that photo! 🙂 🙂 I’ve never been on horseback and am a bit timid of them, even though they are beautiful creatures. I only seem to remember the bad dreams so I’d be better off without.

    Liked by 1 person

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