After riding his first horse this past Saturday, my youngest son Henry is now intent on becoming a cowboy, or at least wanting his own horse.
Henry got his first time in the saddle during the Horsin’ Around event at the Neal Cox farm while I was there doing a video for the newspaper on the festivities. The event is held annually to benefit the Horsin’ Around program that helps special needs children and adults and also to raise funds for the Special Games that will be held this May.
Since I was going anyway, I figured the 10-year-old might like to go out and see the animals or maybe enjoy the petting zoo they had on hand. However, when we got there, he was ready to do more than that.
“You want to ride a horse, Henry?” I asked, noticing him eyeing other children riding the horses but realizing he is somewhat shy of new things.
“Yes!” he eagerly agreed, already wanting to get inside the corral.
Once on the horse, he was a natural, sitting up straight and looking comfortable in the saddle. All that got him off the horse was the dinner bell.
“Daddy. I want a horse,” he announced minutes later.
We live in a residential subdivision where I’m sure the neighbors would not appreciate us turning our house into the Circle-S Ranch. Plus, my wife is irritated enough about having to change liter boxes for our two cats so I can only imagine what her reaction would be when she stepped into a nice, ripe horse apple in the backyard.
“I don’t think they allow horses where we live,” I replied, disappointing the young cowboy.
He shook his head. “Well can I get a cowboy hat instead,” he asked.
“I think we may be able to do that,” I responded, relieved he didn’t keep pushing the issue.
That was short-lived, however, as my mother, during a discussion in front of Henry the next day, revealed when I was a child, even younger than Henry, I had my own horse and we lived right in the middle of McMinnville.
“The horse used to jump the fence at night and we could hear it running around the house,” my mom recalled, noting that in addition to a horse we had a goat, rabbits and other farm animals despite the fact I grew up in a residential neighborhood in the city.
Try as I might, I can’t recall ever having a horse. I remember my dad telling me he had bought me a horse but that it had jumped the fence and run away. I figured he told me that just to appease me when I wanted a horse. It seems to me if I had once had my own horse, I’d remember it. But, mom is adamant, so maybe I did.
However, in the case of Henry, barring a move from our subdivision, he will have to settle for the cowboy hat and maybe a stick horse. They eat a lot less and will never jump the fence.
Standard reporter Duane Sherrill can be reached at 473-2191.