Marek's Gift
My one and only experience with a horse came when I was 24 years old, when two of my brothers and I visited a horse ranch,
in King City, Ontario, just north of Toronto. None of us had any equine know-how, being city folks, but we thought, Hey! What
could possibly go wrong? The guide-leader-cowboy who was taking a group of us on the trail ride had no qualms over our
inexperience, so what could possibly go wrong? Daisy, the mount assigned to me, was a gentle and calm horse and quite
content to mosey over the terrain, following the slow pace of the lead horse, so what could possibly go wrong? It was a
beautiful summery Saturday afternoon in September, 1983. The sky was a breathless blue. The scent of the wildflowers teased
the air. And I was sitting, confident and content, astride my gentle and calm horse, enjoying the freedom and exhilaration of the
ride, enjoying the fresh and exquisite experience of the ride, when to my absolute delight, a deer sauntered unexpectedly out of
the woods. Daisy felt none of my delight. In fact, my gentle and calm horse got spooked, and took off at a fearful gallop.
Fearful for me, I might clarify. She moved so fast, her hoofs barely touched ground. White-knuckled, I hung onto the reins as
we flew over the terrain, my only consideration to remain atop the horse. Apparently, the leader-cowboy yelled for me to pull
back on the reins. Apparently, I yelled back an answer. I have no recollection of anything between the time when Daisy took off
and when she reined in. That period of time, feeling like hours, probably lasting only minutes in duration, is a hole, blank and
bemused in my mind. While my runaway-horse experience is different from Marek’s—my cowboy-in-the-making-hero—I do
have a sense of sympathy for him: my horseback ride ended a little more…shall we say…pleasant…than his. I emerged from
my experience in one piece, sore, sore in every inch of my body for several weeks as I recall, but in one piece. Marek? Well,
you’ll have to saddle up and join me at the Triple M to find out how the good-looking-in-a-rugged-sort-of-way cowboy fared.