The Ride of My Life

November 29, 2010
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It was a typical Idaho evening; a soft, cool breeze rustled the leaves around, the scent of pine wafted through the air, and the sun painted its radiant reds, soft yellows, majestic oranges, and even stormy pinks across the soon-to-be-starlit-sky. I was sprawled out on the cool, cushiony carpet that was the grass, soaking in all the beauty around me, when my cousin Josh’s voice sprung me out of my trance. “Come on Haley, let’s go saddle up. It’s the perfect time for riding.”

I popped up and happily replied, “Well then let’s get going!” After the horses’ hair had been brushed, nails clipped, and the saddles were on, we headed out. Josh was on his favorite horse Jake, a tan Appaloosa, and I was on Chip. Chip, like many horses, got his name form the way he was colored; white with little ‘chocolate chips’ all over. We rode our horses about a quarter mile away to Josh’s neighbor Stephanie’s house. She was out of town and didn’t mind if we used her arena as long as we locked the gate before we left.

After a blissful hour of riding, Josh decided that we better head back. Slowing Jake down, he turned and said, “Why don’t you start heading home, I’m just going to lock up.” I nodded then turned, and Chip and I began a leisurely walk home. I could hear the cars whistling down the highway, which separated us from Josh’s house, as I leaned back in the saddle. The reins were in one hand, and I placed my other on Chip’s back as I a rubbed his silky coat. This continued until we reached the road, and everything changed.

Chip, who was either bored from walking or just wanted to get home, shot off like a bullet. I was completely unprepared for this sudden change of events, and rushed to regain my balance as I frantically scrambled for the reins. Once I had a firm grasp on them, I pulled back as hard as I could, attempting to slow Chip. If anything, this had the opposite effect. Chip was now running at full speed, and the 65 mph highway, always busy this time of day, was rapidly approaching. I barely had time to shout, “Josh!! He won’t stop!!” before we reached the highway.

My heart stopped as I gaped at the cars rapidly approaching, wishing, hoping, praying that Chip would stop. Ignoring my pleas, Chip bolted across the highway. As he ran head first into the oncoming traffic, my ears were filled with the sound of many cars simultaneously slamming on their breaks. I knew we were in trouble; the cars were too close, and we were to far into the road. The cars were closing in, and I closed my eyes, preparing for the worst. They remained sealed shut for a few seconds, when I realized something... We were still moving!! My eyelids flew up, and as I looked around, I realized that Chip and I were safely on the other side of the road. “Thank you, Thank you!” I said, and since the worst part was behind me, I began to enjoy the ride. After all, It’s not every day that you get to ride an out of control horse!

Chip didn’t stop, and I had no control, until we reached the pole where he gets tied up. I was Still a little shaken, but slid off Chip, took a deep breath to calm my pounding heart, and began to laugh at his stubbornness. At that exact moment, Josh flew into sight. A worried look consumed his face as he scrambled off Jake and rushed over to me. I was still chuckling, and that more than anything seemed to calm him. “Haley! Your safe!! I was so worried, and I came as fast as I could!” he said.

I smiled and muttered, “Well I’m here aren’t I?” , which procured a smile out of Josh. We put the horses away and walked inside, talking happily.

I’ll never forget that day, or the lesson Chip taught me; Hold on tight, you never know when your life will change. If your not careful, you may miss it!





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