Saturday, September 20, 2008

Ridin' Shotgun

     I was always a bit embarrassed by his name. Who names a horse Shotgun? Her son must have; sounds like something a kid who joins the Navy at 19 might do. It was his horse and she wanted to keep him just in case her son came back home. The sister had tried to make a Hunter/Jumper out of the black quarterhorse; he was big enough, but must have sensed that horses called Shotgun don't take to dressage and English saddles.
So I agreed to take him on. Pay for a share of his care and board; get him wormed, brushed and exercise while I tried to hold on to my teaching job, find the love of my life, and become a man.
One of my early goals was to keep horses in my life and Shotgun gave me the opportunity I craved. He didn't take too well to my mare's hackamore. (a bridle without a bit) When I gave him his head and let him run a little he soon ran out of the bridle. Fortunately the land he called home, with its weekend warriors, wannabe trainers and lovestruck pre-teens, had plenty of hills. If that didn't slow him down, I could always run up on other riders; even Shotgun knew he couldn't run over the top so he'd just play bumper cars for a minute and then realize he needed to stop.
It took a month or two, but we became good friends. He put up with my strange hours. I'f I'd had a bad day and needed a break from adolescent drama or inept administrators, I could always take a 20 min. drive and brush, comb, saddle, and ride.
If I met a new friend, I could always walk the walk. "No really, I've got a horse, want to ride him?" Shotgun had an eye for the women too.
A couple of years down the road I needed to move on. I was hopeful of a family that included my own children instead of one 1200 lb mud-stained, apple and carrot munching, runaway kid named Shotgun.

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