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Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Horse Apples

1st March 2012
Dear Cassi,
Another of the odd points of my young life that I still look back in with both joy and laughter is the first time I rode a horse. Alan always told me that my mother had bought the horse without him knowing. This would indicate that the old man was not one to watch his finances because horses do not come cheap.
In any case, I had ridden a pony or two before but the big horse was more than I could take at four. I kept pulling back on the rains and Tammy, that was my mother’s horse, obediently stopped. At that point I would kick to get her going again and she would trot on until I would pull the rains again a few steps later. This made the horse impatient and she moved under me.
My mother called out directions, but just as I got the hang of it the horse bucked me off and rolled in the dust to scratch her back. I was fine, but it was also my first taste of horse apple. Yes, those green fruit that you always look out for but never pick up.
Somehow I thought it would taste much worse but perhaps it was that I got it out of my mouth in a hurry. I would call it like bitter grass but then this was more than two decades ago.
The horse was sold when my mother died but my love for the animals has never waned.  

Ride free, little sister

Richard Leland Neal

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