“Major,” that special horse I had that taught me about patience, played such a big role in my childhood. There is just something about animals for kids, but the combination of horses and kids in particular just seem to make magic.
I would have spent every waking moment with that horse if I could have. Just hiding my face in his muscular neck and breathing in that hypnotic aroma of a horse always put my mind at ease. It was definitely therapy to my soul having Major in my life.
It was a warm spring day and I was about 12. I decided to ride Major to the top of one of our fields. The grass was just coming up, so you could see little blades of green peaking in the black dirt. I always loved the view from the top of the field. You could see forever it seemed, and the sky was so blue. I love how in spring everything is so vividly green, it’s just too bad it is for such a short time.
Because winter was just behind us and my Uncle Wayne, who always warned “watch out for those snakes!” wasn’t there to warn me that day, my mind was not in the mode to watch for snakes. I was too busy taking in the beauty that was before me.
Major, however was quite aware. As we walked by the rocks that I was later told could have been a snake den, Major started side stepping, grunting and blowing out his nose. We both heard the hum of the rattlers and he turned so dang fast that my body almost didn’t follow. I grabbed the horn and tried to position myself back in the saddle as Major took off and started to buck and rare.
Now, falling off of a horse is on the top of my list of my least favorite things to do, so I held on with all my might. After what seemed like a lifetime but was probably just a few seconds, he stopped at least a hundred yards from where we turned around. My heart was pounding so hard and I could feel Major’s fear, too. I leaned forward, gave him a stroke on his neck and told him it was OK. He snorted out his nose a couple of times and I asked him to go forward in a walk, and we went on our way again, except in the opposite direction of the snake.
As we walked, both of us calmed down. I talked to him all the way back down the field. I sang a little tune, too. I always thought that helped to keep him calm and it definitely kept me calm.
Looking back on this day reminds me that there’s always something in life that’s going to take you by surprise and maybe even scare you. The thing is, if you have the right person to stick by you and walk you through it, you can get through anything.