Learning the Curve

My mother is fearless.

 When we had a rabid raccoon in the barn, she caught up two bricks and headed off after it. This is where I like to say that I am the one who grabbed it by the tail and threw it when it went after the dog–all the while screaming like a girl for my mom. My dad pointed out to her that smashing  bricks into an animal carrying a blood borne disease wasn’t perhaps the best idea.  We did find another way to deal with the raccoon and had the Wardens take it for testing. Fortunately, the dog had its shots and this story ended much better than it could have.

When we ride the horses on our road, Mom is fine heading down the center of the road. I take a bit more after my dad. He was a worrier. He came by it naturally from a family of worries, so I don’t let it worry me that I also inherited the gene.

I am more of a defensive rider.

 I prefer to ride on the edge so that if a car comes I don’t have to worry getting out of the way in a hurry. Cars have a tendency to fly down the road, especially around the corners. Which is not good for the cars either as we live on a dirt road. A horse is much harder to maneuver than a dog when faced with an idiot in a vehicle.  I do like to plan ahead for any complications in most situations. Although most situations never require my well thought out plans, I feel better for having them. My dad also impressed on me the importance of planning 😉

My mother doesn’t worry about getting out of the way, she’ll do it when it’s an issue. Of course, her horse was twice the size of mine–a draft Thoroughbred cross.  Cars would think twice before getting that as a hood ornament. And this is the woman who once slid across a New Jersey highway on a horse: horse shoes and pavement don’t always get along.  After that, our little roads couldn’t possibly bother her.

My horse has never wanted to walk on the side of the road.  I used to think she was just being contrary.  You know, the other horses get to walk over there, why do I have to walk over here kind of thing.   She can be like that.

Then I started running.

And I learned about the crowning on the road. For anyone like me who never gave any thought to this, they engineer the roads so that water runs from the high point (the yellow line) to the low point (the ditches).  Obviously this makes it safer during storms for drivers.  It also makes it hard find an even surface to run (or walk with four legs) on. Running on the edge can be like running with one leg an inch shorter than the other. Hard to get a good stride going and painful when done.

Over time, I have figured out where the flattest place to run is on my local roads. It sometimes involves crossing the road several times during the miles. I feel much more sympathetic towards Charby.

 I let her walk where she wants now.


4 thoughts on “Learning the Curve

  1. Dear Sam,
    This was a wonderful description of how different people ride horses and the connection between this choice and their personalities. I learnt something here today.
    I was reading a story by William Saroyan, recently, in which he writes along the same lines, describing incidents that could potentially become dangerous, with a certain tongue-in-cheek humour. I enjoyed your writing as much as I enjoyed his and think you have a similar writing style. ( This is a back handed complement).
    Keep writing such informative posts- it transports me to a world I might never ever live in, because I can only dream of the country and its various delights.


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