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? 😉
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