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Bruce Hotmer: I’m no ‘Lone Ranger’ but I keep my promises

Posted: April 10, 2009 1:26 a.m.
Updated: April 10, 2009 4:30 a.m.
Not long ago, my son went to a birthday party. Seems innocent, huh? Well, it seems they went horseback riding. He came back having the time of his life and insisted we take him out sometime soon, like, maybe Sunday.

It’s worth mentioning here that I’ve been on a horse exactly once, when I was in high school, so you can surmise I’m not exactly the “Lone Ranger.” I think horses are big and beautiful — but mostly just big.

The weather forecast for that particular Sunday was for torrential rains, so I figured this father-son moment was not going to happen.

Here was an easy promise to slide out of because I promised him that we would go, unless, of course, it rained. “Ah ha,” I thought, “This is perfect.” I can look excited about sharing this new “fun” experience with him but never actually go.

Sunday morning arrived — and it was not raining. Not a cloud in the sky. We went over to the stables (because I keep my promises no matter how incredibly stupid they are) and they told us that all the horses big enough to carry men were out on the trail. I was thinking I actually wanted a horsie, not an actual horse, but I guess there must be rules about riders not being bigger than the horse, anyway, here was another chance for escape. I shrugged my shoulders and said, “Oh well, good try.” My son, undeterred, said, “We’ll be back in an hour.”

One hour later we returned. They rolled out my manly horse. His name was Toronado. He was jet black, had fire coming out of his eyes and was jumping 20 feet in the air. This was the horse that the Headless Horseman rode in “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.”

I climbed a wooden platform that made me feel like I was climbing the steps of a gallows to get on Buttercup, er, Diablo or Toronado or whatever his name was. As I swung my leg over the beast and sat in the saddle, my gimpy hip snapped about four inches of arthritis off my bones. There can be nothing worse for an aging hip than imitating a 14-year-old gymnast. We were yet to take a step and I was already in agony. There I was, just sitting there on this Clydesdale about 27 feet in the air, praying for rain.

As the trip started, I had to shift over to my right side to get the weight off my left hip.  The farther we rode down the path, the more I leaned to my right. I looked like I was the wounded cowpoke in a Western movie comin’ into town to get Doc to fix me up. I was leaning over the saddle like I’d been shot. Actually, if I’d had a gun, I’d have shot the horse and then me.

So there we were, walking up this trail. Why not trotting or cantering you might ask? That’s because I didn’t know how to make a horsie go any speed — fast or slow. I looked down for the gas pedal and almost fainted from vertigo. I’d have kicked him, but I couldn’t move my left leg at all. It stuck out like I was signaling a left turn.

Down the trail apiece (that’s cowboy talk), the other horses wanted to pass me. Well, Rosemary, I mean Thunderbolt, didn’t like that, so he started to trot. Oh, great, suddenly he became competitive and wanted to race. I was leaning over my saddle hanging onto the horn-thing just as my horse started to bounce. I went up and down banging my hip into the saddle. I literally screamed like a schoolgirl. The horse’s ears went back like, “What the heck was that?” I was hanging off the horse sideways. I’m not sure who was more embarrassed, the horse or me. I needed the Doc and some of that good ole Western medicine. After what seemed like days, but was only an hour, we made it back to the corral. I couldn’t get off the horse because my left leg had no feeling in it at all. I slid off it like I was poured out of a bottle.

“Daddy, let’s do this again next week,” my son squealed. Oh great.

Ready for your weekend?

Bruce Hotmer is a SCV resident. His column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of The Signal.


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