Friday, February 20, 2009

Jumping With Legend

Jumping with Legend
© Ken Harris 2008

Joanne was taking English riding lessons from Bobbi Williams in 1957. That’s where you bounce up and down in the saddle like you had springs in your pants. I was not really gifted in this activity.

Bobbi had heard of a splendid scheme to improve indifferent riders by teaching them to jump. The supposition was they would be too busy just trying to stay on their horse to worry about niceties like balance. They would automatically become better riders if they never succeeded in taking a jump. Assuming they survived.

By the end of several weeks of this untender tutelage, I had not fallen off my horse even though I looked as if I stayed stayed in the saddle by duct tape. But I had been riding school horses, not our own true Legend. I made the comment that although I had not been riding long, I had not yet been thrown. What follows is confirmation of my theory that not only is there a God, but she doesn’t like loudmouths.

Most sensible horses will stop in front of a jump if you haul on the reins hard enough and roar “whoa” in their ears. Some horses will ignore you and jump anyway. Legend did both. She came to a complete stop. And then she jumped. She went up and up and I went up and up and up. We came down on the other side of the jump, so I guess you could say we took the jump. We just came down about ten feet apart.

Legend would do that. She would take a jump from a standstill. Just to prove something to somebody, we did a repeat performance, but differently, five minutes later. This time she went up and forwards and I went up and backwards. Gravity exerted its inevitable effect and this time we ended up on opposite sides of the jump.

Joanne reminded me that I still hadn’t been thrown. Falling off doesn’t count.

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