Life in progress

H is for High-Spirited


I used to be very much a horse person. I loved horses as a kid – wanted to spend all my time with horses, so I talked my parents into sending me to horse camp where I learned how to ride. I remember being assigned my horse at the beginning of the week – the one I would ride twice a day. Oh how happy I was when I finally graduated to the more high-spirited horses!

I began of course with the ones that just plodded along. The ones that give the rider the illusion that he or she is in control but in fact there is nuthin’ that’s gonna change that beast’s mind about following the horse-bum in front of it. I swear sometimes those kinds of horses are sleep walking.

Years later as an adult I went back to farm where I had formerly gone to camp and got a job taking out trail rides. The number one rule for guiding a trail is to watch the customers, meaning that as a guide, I’d spend three quarters of my time twisted around in the saddle facing forward but looking back. This includes while trotting and galloping. I remember my first trail – my God was I nervous! Nervous as in I didn’t have a single drop of spit in my mouth nervous. Riding backwards while running turned out to be the least of my worries that day.

You see, every once in a while we’d get a real ass (and I’m not talking about a donkey) go out for a ride. It was normally a young guy who wanted to show off to his friends how skilled he was on horseback. Invariably the ass had no idea what he was doing. Normally we could spot them 100 miles off and stick them on one of the aforementioned plodders. No problem, right? I got one of these guys my very first trail ride ever. And somehow he managed to do the one thing that would get a plodder’s attention.

We had on the farm a thing we called “the gallop strip.” It was a stretch of trail facing away from the barn (because if you gallop a horse in the direction of the barn it ain’t gonna stop) that nine times out of ten the more high-spirited horses would behave themselves on, and the plodders would get up to a trot… which was hilarious when we got one of our macho men on one, because he’d be bouncing all over the place totally out of control. Not so much on my first time out.

My macho man managed to hold his horse back through sheer brutality when everyone else started to run. Me, not being experienced, tried but failed to slow everyone else down (a lesson I quickly learned). So when the plodder, freaked out that his horsey friends’ bums had left without him, he finally bolted. The horse passed the trail line, passed me and took off for the barn. There I was screaming at the guy as he’s getting farther and farther away (with not an ounce of spit which was difficult) to pull back on the reins and stop squeezing with his feet which was what was making the horse go faster, I couldn’t chase him because the rest of my trail would chase me…

Needless to say I ended my first trail ride as a guide in tears. But, as they say, you’ve just got to dust yourself off and get right back on, right? I loved that job; I did it for about five years. And I’ve got a million stories to go with it.

So much for my letter of the alphabet today, eh? Oh wait – one of the synonyms for “high-spirited” is “dashing.” That works. ๐Ÿ˜€

Me at 12 years old

Me, at 12 years old


BATZAP by Doobster @ Mindful Digressions

BATZAP by Doobster @ Mindful Digressions

Author: LindaGHill

There's a writer in here, clawing her way out.

19 thoughts on “H is for High-Spirited

  1. I loved riding as a girl, too. I used to ride bareback every weekend, and I’ve got some stories…

    But yours – loved yours! A high-spirited post full of hijinks!


  2. I was a horsie kid, my joy was pony club, one day I decided enough was enough I had to have my own. My mum smiled as she said no, and so this went on for ages. I eventually got so angry I picked up a clod of dirt to throw at her only to discover that it was warm mushy horse poo, I screamed and cried. My mum didn’t stop laughing for days, I had to ride in the tailgate of her Disco home, how embrassment.


  3. My mom once grabbed the rafts of the barn hay mow to ‘dismount’ from plodding, ole’ Sugar, who decided it was time to get back to home territory – ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for the memory!


  4. You said the magic word…! I have loved them all my life. At age ten, I started riding, owning, and training horses. When I was 17, the woman who ran the high school horseback riding act in a circus asked me to be one of her riders. Of course, I wanted to go, but my father kiboshed it. Huge disappointment. I can’t physically ride anymore,but I still love to see and watch horses perform.


  5. Great post. I would also love to hear some more trail stories. ๐Ÿ˜‰


  6. My sister is a professional horse trainer. I’ve become fairly decent in the saddle because of her instruction. So she’s a people trainer, too. I’ve learned to prefer something between a plodder and a high-spirited horse. I like a horse you don’t have to kick every five seconds, but also one that won’t rip your arms out of your shoulders trying to hold it back.


  7. Linda, I really enjoyed this story! Loved the pic and loved hearing of the trials on the trail! You need to do more like this! ๐Ÿ™‚


  8. I am so scared of horses!!


  9. So cool. You are a multi-talented soul Linda. I have seldom ridden horses, however I did go one trail ride and recognize the plodding ass-following you mentioned. As a twist though, there was an old over-grown apple orchard hat had been a “tun” for many decades – this assumption due to the deep trail ruts that the horses followed (the trail was easily a foot below the surrounding ground). The guides stopped at the entrance to the orchard and explained what they intended to do – i.e. let the horses go as fast as they wanted – and to bend over in the saddle and hold on. Lord thunderin’! Scared me shitless.

    I often wondered what the guides would do if there happened to be any idiots amongst us. There weren’t this time, but I’m sure it happens.

    Fun post Linda and great picture of you on the horse.


  10. Horses are beautiful, majestic, terrifyingly large creatures. I am afraid of horses, but I pretend for my kids, who love to ride them and pet them and feed them. I guess I used to like horses, but my mother got thrown and kicked (I have no memory of this)and my fear is unshakable. I last rode a horse in 1987, with Drew, on her cousin’s thoroughbred. You know, the kind you climb onto from the porch? I rode behind Drew and pretty much prayed the entire time. Her aunt said it would take away my fear, but she was wrong.


    • It’s amazing how the fears we get from our parents stick with us, isn’t it? For me it’s just spiders. Give me a horse any day, but a teensy little eight legged creature and I’m dust.
      I’ve been thrown and kicked more times than I can count. Hasn’t killed me yet. ๐Ÿ˜›
      Thanks for sharin’, Joey. ๐Ÿ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Ha! As a teenager, I went horseback riding with a friend a couple of times. All I knew how to do was hold onto the saddle horn and let the horse do its thing. First time out, I got a “plodder” who decided he really liked the plants way down at the bottom of a ditch. No amount of screaming by the tour guide could help me make that horse obey me, so there we whiled away the time until every bit of tasty greenery was gone. Fortunately, there wasn’t a lot of it.

    As if that wasn’t bad enough – on the way back to the barn, one of the other horses trotted in front of my horse, who got scared and reared up on his hind legs. Good thing I had such a tight hold on that saddle horn already! It was a wonder they ever let me go back to that stable.


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