Believing in ‘foolproof’ for foolish

By Glenda Price: CNJ columnist

My friend Bob spent a great deal of time horseback on his cousin’s family ranch when he was a kid. After he grew up, he left that behind and became a musician — a financially successful one, which is unusual.

Through the years Bob rode horseback now and then at one of those riding stables where you rent the horse, saddle, etc., for a few hours. Those horses, as we all know, are “foolproof,” which means they don’t get excited over anything, don’t get in a hurry and mostly ignore whoever is on their backs.

Bob visited his cousin at the ranch after not having been there for quite a few years. He thought it would be fun to ride a “real” horse again, so his cousin offered to let him ride her best barrel racing horse.

At the stables, they lead the already bridled and saddled horse out to you, and you just climb on.

Not at the ranch. “I needed a little help with the bridle, because I couldn’t remember for sure which way it went,” Bob remembers, “but we got it on. I did remember how to fasten the cinch.”

The horse was well-trained, of course, and stood quietly while Bob mounted up. Somebody opened the gate and they were out in the big world. Bob kicked fairly hard, like he had to do with the riding stable horses, and “we were off,” he says. “This was no riding stable plug.”

It was pretty cool to be loping along in the big pasture, taking in the view and feeling the horse’s easy movement underneath him. He was feeling proud of himself for remembering how to make his body move as one with the horse. This was way fun.

Gradually, he noticed himself leaning more and more toward the left side. Both feet were solidly in the stirrups, so he wasn’t sitting crooked. Still, he kept on leaning to the left. Suddenly Bob, saddle and all, slipped down the horse’s side.

The horse, of course, spooked and lunged forward with a snort. Luckily, Bob’s foot slipped out of the stirrup soon after he hit the ground.