In days of yore, I stood (not sat) in the saddle on those few
occasions when courtship or social commitments required that I be on horseback,
a situation which I regard as only slightly more pleasant than gum surgery.
Truth to tell, my earliest equestrian ventures were both enjoyable and
non-hazardous, since they were limited to pony rides conducted at glacial speed
and comfortably close to the ground.
Fast-forward in your mind's eye to the occasions, mercifully few, when the
pursuit of Firstwife-To-Be collided with her passion for trail riding - this
time atop horses which seemed to thrust me aloft to what seemed like nose-bleed
I was then in love, though, and therefore willing to brave any danger in order
to impress - and later possess - the girl of my dreams.
I love her still, and now even more than then, but one of my unspoken marriage
vows was never to be in the immediate presence of a horse unless all six of our
legs were firmly on the terra firma.
Mind you, I like looking at horses when sufficiently apart from them and I
recognize that the Hollywood Westerns, which I also like, would be far less
interesting if the cowboys were on foot.
But horseback riding ranks at approximately the level of Russian roulette as my
favorite sport, and I have a defensible reasons, to wit:
First of all, if God had intended men to ride astride, He would have relocated
certain components of Adam's anatomy.
Delicacy prohibits more detailed explanation of this point. If it is not
sufficiently clear to you, it is not something that you really need to know.
Aside: If you do get the picture, perhaps you can explain to me why in the old
days it was the women who chose to ride side-saddle. Again, we'll go no further
Once I had graduated from the pony class, and my prospective mounts had
accelerated beyond a casual saunter, I was confronted with (and never solved)
the gravitational problem arising from the fact that the ups and downs of
trotting and cantering were dictated by the horse, rather than my personal
This gave rise to a challenge which I met by choosing to stand fully upright in
the stirrups, rather than running the risk of permanent celibacy. (Again, we'll
stop right there for the reason earlier cited.)
I'm vaguely aware that there is a technique called posting which allows horse
and rider to effect a compromise in the vertical dipsy-doodle of horsemanship,
but I never did better than "almosting."
This compromise was sorely (and I use the word advisedly) unacceptable, so I
chose to permanently maintain my good standing and the horses didn't seem to
They were, in fact, typically more interested in munching on nearby foliage
and/or heading back to the barn than in providing what are to be unto me the
still-undiscovered joys found in them by experienced riders. (In the former of
these two goals, at least this mountor and those mounts were totally simpatico.)
FW2B (I'm trying to learn tweeting, so bear with me), had "a good seat," this
being one of those expressions which would be easily misunderstood outside the
Horsy Set. It simply meant that she rode well and it can still be said in a
lady's presence without offending her.
However attractive and/or praiseworthy might be her other anatomical
accouterments, however, it is, of course, unacceptable to comment on them except
in surreptitious whispers. (e.g., "My god, that's one magnificent rack there!")
Elsewhere, such pronouncements are likely to evoke unpleasant reactions, ranging
from a very dark look to a very fat eye.
Another peculiar snippet of jargon among horse owners, Firstwife now being among
them, is that they refer to their avocational pursuits as "breeding horses,"
while the actual breeding is, in fact, done by the animals themselves. (Okay,
OKAY! Just having a little fun here, d'ya mind?)
Anyway, this humble scribe has traveled a long trail from the time he used to
ritually gallop home from Saturday afternoon double features on an imaginary
steed, whooping like a cowboy in full pursuit of Black hats and simultaneously
whupping dust out of his corduroy knickerbockers.
In those days, I rode fearlessly, flawlessly, horselessly and with a reckless
abandon I was never again to experience.
One thing remains unchanged, though, in my mind's eye.
That girl (FW2B), with whom I hit the trail those many years ago, still has a
very good seat!
Freelance wordworker Joe Klock, Sr. (email@example.com) winters in Key Largo and Coral Gables, Florida and summers in New Hampshire. More of his "Klockwork" can be found at www.joeklock.com.