I am the Queen of unsaid things. Whispered words that might have changed a life, held back because of fear. Fear is a dream killer. To tell people you love them, despise them, or make them laugh uncontrollably is the true power of words. That, however, is not this story.
I worked summers in Wisconsin Dells from 1976 to 1990. On a beautiful summer day, I decided I wanted to see my friend’s newly acquired horse that she had purchased for her trail ride business in Wisconsin Dells. My ticket booth was right down the hill from her stable. The horse was a beautiful roan Appaloosa. I fell in love immediately. She asked if I wanted to ride her? I jumped at the chance! I was told she was trained to be straight reined, and that corners were a bit rough. I was just to be careful on the corners.
We took off up the road, an asphalt road, at top speed. Galloping a horse on a country road is such a joy. I felt free! I loved her gait, however her desire to stop was a bit strange. She tossed her head when I pulled her to a stop, a mile from the stables. I patted her neck, told her she was a good girl, and proceeded to streak back to the stable. She seemed to want to head toward the paddock where the other horses were waiting for riders. For a brief moment, I thought we were going to jump the fence. Thankfully, she responded to the reins correction at the last minute.
Mentally, I was making notes of what my friends needed to work on as I pulled to a halt in their parking lot. My friend came out to ask me how it went. I told her that the horse may need a bit of work. She laughed, and informed me that I was the first person to ever ride that horse. Excuse me? I am far from a Bronc Rider. I was so upset I was speechless. Believe me, that rarely happens. My legs went to jelly before I hit the ground. What the heck was my friend thinking? After I collected myself together, I found my voice. I used words so colorful that I painted my pretty roan Appaloosa colt blue, so to speak.
I broke a horse on asphalt without knowing it. I had never broken a horse before in my life. As soon as I stopped losing my mind over what could have happened, I broke out laughing. Clumsy Sue, broke a horse on asphalt. The powers that be taught me a big lesson that day. Always ask if the horse is broken before you ride it. This could be translated into anything we do in life.
If you have questions, seek answers. Leave nothing unsaid. Otherwise, you may find yourself on your face, kissing asphalt.
Sue Cook lives in Freeport, Illinois with her husband Randy and two dogs. Her passions include assistance dogs, rescue dogs, music, acting, theater, poetry, and Doctor Who. She’s been in both film and theater and is a regular cast member of the podcast Doctor Who’s Line is it….Anyway? Sue is an advocate for the use of Service Dogs to assist their disabled handlers to maintain their independence. Quigley’s Quest, her first children’s book, addresses how a dog becomes a Service Dog.