Learning To Be From Kentucky

This post was originally published on a MySpace blog I had for a while. Remember MySpace? Well, the blog (and MySpace) went away, but I thought I'd bring back this post. It tells about a different kind of cultural experience!

I like horses. They’re phenomenally beautiful creatures.  Majestic.  Powerful. 

So when I needed one more credit to graduate from college, I thought, “Yeah… horseback riding. I’m from Kentucky – I should know how to do that.” 

There’s an unfortunate problem with horseback riding classes, though. The teachers are familiar with horses.  Too familiar. 

The very first day a chippy blonde girl tried to get me to jam my hand into a horse’s mouth.  “See!  There’s no teeth back here,” she prattled on, prying open the slobbery lips.

Apparently, this task was necessary for me to basically gag the horse and open his mouth to accept a painful bit.  Hmmm… really?  Horses are big.  You remember… majestic and powerful. 

So I whined enough and failed enough that the happy horse woman did it for me.  She did give me a disdainful glance as if to say, “What are you even doing in this class if you can’t put your hand in the horse’s mouth on the first day?”  Look, I’m just trying to graduate.

While trying to clean the hooves, I had to ram my shoulder into his thigh, attempting to knock him off balance until he lifts a foot. No, city girl was not happy. In fact, I cried after the first three or four classes.  I even genuinely considered not graduating over this horseback riding nonsense. 

I mean, what happened to standing on a platform, hopping on the horse, and proceeding up the mountain trail? That’s what I needed – not this “one foot in the stirrup, hanging dangerously off one side, attempting to pull myself ‘up and over!’ with the upper body strength of a kitten.”     

It all fell apart when I was in the stall with my horse fastened to the wall. I was supposed to clean and saddle him… in hopes of actually riding. I was trying to brush him when the dance began.  He side-stepped back and forth… as much as his tether would allow… while I chased him with the curry comb. 

Before long, Mr. Horse is so over my grooming plan that he whinnies loudly, rears back, and… snaps the chain right off the wall! Well, that was enough for me. 

I scurried out of the stall, locked the door, and looked. Proverbial tumbleweed is rolling through the barn.  Where are the instructors?  The students?  Oh, yes… they’re already out riding in the ring.  Too familiar with horses, I’m telling you. 

So basically, I begged not to have to ride the horse.  I produced a single tear to roll pitifully down my dirty cheek.  And I was reassigned to the slowest, oldest, fattest horse in the place. 

It was marvelous. Classmates mocked me.  I didn’t care. While other horses took “detours” on our trail rides, my girl plodded along the planned path. And at the end of class, when everyone else marched into the field and released their horses, I stayed in the barn. A three-year old was coming to ride.  Cool.    

I like horses. What about you? Do you like to ride horses?


  1. LOL! I'm not a city girl, my neighbor had a horse when I was a kid, but I've never had to clean one in any way...

    1. I recommend trying to stay away from that process as much as possible! :)


I love to hear from you! Like, seriously. It makes my day. Please feel free to respond, question, or add your perspective. Of course, please keep your words respectful. Thanks for reading and joining in the conversation!

A Life with Subtitles. All rights reserved. © Maira Gall.