We’re pleased to be bringing you the first entries of our International Equestrian Blogging Contest. Remember, you can still enter as long as all three of your blogs are submitted by September 30. You can find full rules here.

Just Hanging Around, by Rebecca Cunningham

Like most little girls, I grew up obsessed with horses. I saved every penny I ever earned in the
hopes of one day buying my own horse. When I was 11 years old, I had finally saved enough to
buy my first horse, a palomino, Quarter horse gelding that I named Mister Ed after the 1960’s
TV show. The name fit him well not only because of his color, but he also had a certain talent
for trouble, especially when it came to getting out of riding. Don’t get me wrong, he was
actually a really good horse — most of the time — and he was the horse that taught me to ride, but some days he would rather relax and sunbathe. When he didn’t want to work, he would do
whatever it took to get out of it. Twice he laid down in the middle of a ride, but his most
memorable scheme was when he just left me hanging, literally.

At the time, Eddy was living at my grandpa’s small three acre farm. My grandpa had been working on removing one of the fences that divided two of the pastures, but all he had finished was removing the wire from the fence. There still remained 5-1/2ft tall posts connected by a
wooden rail across the top. It was in these fenced pastures that I would ride Eddy bareback
using a halter and a lead rope as a bridle.

The day in question started off as always with my normal riding routine: Catch Eddy, brush him,
pick his hooves, and hop on. As we were riding along at a walk, Eddy turned toward the fence
that divided the pastures. I tried to turn him back to our original direction, but the halter and
lead rope offered little control when it came up against his determined mind. No matter how
hard I tried, there was no steering him away from his set course. I figured he would stop at the
fence or turn at the last minute; however, when we got up to the fence, he simply ducked his
head and kept on walking. He was a 15hh (5ft) tall horse, which made him plenty short enough
to go straight under the wooden rail, but unfortunately not quite short enough for me to clear
the rail, too.

I was left dangling — along with my pride — as he kept on walking. He stopped and turned to
glance back at me with a look that said, “Oh, were you still riding?” I could almost imagine him
patting himself on the back for his achievement. I remained hanging onto the rail for a few
moments trying to process what had just happened. When I finally let go, I wanted to be mad at him, but all I could do was laugh. He had once again succeeded in his endeavor to get out of
work. However, it was a short lived victory, because I climbed back on and rode for another
hour. I was able to maintain control for the rest of the ride, and I didn’t let him anywhere near
that fence.

A few days later, I helped my grandpa finish removing the fence, so Eddy didn’t get a chance to
try that trick again. It was also the last time he tried to get out of riding because in the battle of
wills, I won.