As you may have guessed from Facebook updates quoting my mother (“I was a Girl Scout leader for 16 years. I know how to make hotel reservations.”), she is a champ. She is also a witch (the lucky kind, not the Wiccan kind), but we can discuss her prowess at raffles and other games of chance later.
Back in October 2002, on one of her last Girl Scouting adventures as a leader, she had a chance to prove her finely honed scouting abilities. On a recent trip through Wisconsin, we passed several horse (and alpaca!) farms, which reminded me of this incident. So I asked her to share it here, in more or less her own words, adapted from a printed out version of the email sent from her AOL account. Enjoy…
MY HORSEY BACK RIDING STORY
By: my mom, THE FEARLESS LEADER
I had the pleasure this past weekend of taking my Girl Scout troop (of 20 people) to the beautiful White Pines Dude Ranch in Oregon, Illinois, though I don’t particularly care for animals, especially not very large ones (ie HORSES). I just don’t trust ‘em….
So, there we are, bright and early Saturday morning for the first ride of that day with about 40 people on our ride. I am somewhere in the middle with a horse named “PAT.”
The ride was going quite well when about half way through ………. “PAT” decides to STOP briefly. Okay…. And THEN….
Just basically COLLAPSES STRAIGHT DOWN TO THE GROUND and I (having had horsemanship training the night before) immediately and ever so quietly step 8-10 feet away from the horse while “PAT” is sitting on the ground (which you know horses just DO NOT DO… they even SLEEP standing up!).
I’m thinking two things:
1) I just killed a horse.
2) Okay, if it was his time, I am fine with walking.
Now the dude ranch helper people come over right away and asked me what happened.
“Well, he just went down,” I say. Of course, they remind me how unusual that is.
“OLD PAT” has a pulse and seems to be okay, other than the sitting.
While they assess “PAT” the ENTIRE LINE OF 39 OTHER HORSERIDERS are halted, waiting for me.
Oh, yeah, and they re-name my horse “OLD PAT” at that moment.
I have to hold the reins of a VERY VERY large horse, “JB,” while his rider takes care of the newly christened “OLD PAT.”
I am still thinking “I AM FINE WITH WALKING!”
Wouldn’t you know it, “OLD PAT” rises back up and Kevin (the horsemanship trainer dude) says for me to get back on “OLD PAT” and I do!!!!
With much encouragement to “OLD PAT” (“come on, you can do it – we are on the homestretch”), we make it back to the barn.
There were 240 people at the rand and they all knew I was the one whose horse just lain down. Let the jokes begin…
“You can bring a horse to its knees!”
“You taught your horse to sit!”
“‘OLD PAT’ just sat!”
And on and on….
Kevin said “OLD PAT” had a cold.
I’m thinking “When will the memorial service be for dear ‘OLD PAT?’”
I never did see that horse again.
On our second ride (for I am, truly, a FEARLESS LEADER), I had “GERTIE” and she was able to stay upright the entire ride!!!!