DON’T TRAIN A HORSE TO JUMP

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    DON’T TRAIN A HORSE TO JUMP

LANDING HEADS OR TAILS?
Mem’ries, illusions linger, events gone bad, a pair,
Horse and rider have parted company in mid-air.
Sans levitation, falls won’t hurt…but sudden stops will!
Impacts, vertical exits, emergency rooms fill.
When your pony just “chickens out” and you clear leather
Mishaps, when ex-steed and you planned to land together.
Horse riders do not have “both feet on the ground,” that’s why.
Yes, we tried a new skill.  We kissed common sense good-bye.

“NEIGH”-SAYERS
High jumps, not conclusion leaps, my fav’rite track event;
Some horsing-around event version, was our intent.
Fence repair duties completed, we set our sights high.
Repetitive trials, gravity laws, we would defy.
Having great transportational modes made us want to fly.
Mastering techniques planned?  Or an artificial high?
“Come on horse, one recreational jump?  Just one try?”
We archive competitive events from days gone by.

JUST SAY “NEIGH”
We stacked heavy railroad ties to a 3-foot-high hump
For a new talent, proceeded to train ponies to jump.
Railroad ties seemed rigid, hazardous, and made them tense.
Our horses became skittish and refused in self-defense.
My brother’s horse turned left but my horse stopped on a dime.
Then my horse veered.  REFUSED!  Just said “neigh” a second time.
With their “horse sense” they stopped! Common sense passed us by.
We forgot to remove the stacked ties!  And “pigs did not fly.”

EXPERIMENTAL AGE
A competitive streak. . . is inherent in ev’ry youth.
A contest, a challenge loomed, that’s the unbridled truth.
My overo pinto was superbly trained, and spry.
Spice up work-a-day-world with some bragging rights?  Let’s try.
We were trained by an expert horseman, fondly called “Dad.”
At 16, nailed his first shoe, eight nails, and horse-shoe clad.
Equine studies came later. We tried tricks to qualify.
The fence fixed.  Experiment failed.  Page turned in our mind’s eye.

DAD JUMPED TO CONCLUSIONS
WHOA!  The next day Dad asked pointedly about the ties.
“I’ve wondered what you boys tried.”  Inaudible sighs!
“Did you boys attempt to teach pinto ponies to jump?
Over stacked railroad ties?”  My breath stopped, my heart went thump.
My mind went blank.  How many seconds do I have to answer?
My throat got so dry.  The best I could choke out was “No, sir.”
No other answer given. . . I tried silence that denies.
Tension, thick as breakfast oatmeal; those were tell-tale ties.

CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE PARENTAL KIND
If I live to be one hundred, I could not prepare
For the next candid statement that both of us heard there!
“In case you two young boys tried, I’ll tell you what I did:
I trained my riding horse to jump.  He could not be hid.”
Our Dad asked me early, if I’d taught my horse to jump.
And I simply answered “No,” but my throat had a lump.
That was no breakfast table fable.  In my mind’s eye
We were caught red-handed, not reprimanded, but why?

WHAT GOES ‘ROUND COMES ‘ROUND
“Gramps said, ‘Your horse is outside the gate; he can’t get in.
I just can’t understand what has gotten into him.’
Another morning my Dad said, ‘That high-jumping horse
Is outside the same gate.  He cannot get in, of course.
He can’t jump back in; there must’ve been some training done
On how to jump.  He’s is a one-dimensional one.
There he waits, he’s back outside again!’  Dad did imply.
Neither of us did admit, we’d trained him on the sly.”

MORE THINGS CHANGE, THE MORE THE SAME
As my Dad spoke again, said “If they won’t jump for you,
You’d be very lucky, ’cause they’d be bad-actors too!”
To make my questionable disappointment very clear;
I’m very thankful we had our own riding-crop failure.
Whenever future generations can make, or break
On their own recreational jumping horse mistake.
If youth fail to train to jump, they’re lucky on that try;
(Hindsight wisdom gained), Gramps, Dad and I will know why!

Orv Alveshere, © 1993, 2014, All rights reserved