Not Riding Trigger Twelve Years Later

The pounding of hooves sounds in my ears. My fourteen-year old cousin is clinging to our brand new pony with his legs. I see them explode down the pasture towards me. He is on the bad side of a tug a war game with a spotted runaway train. The train is speeding up.

My cousin is screaming, ”Whoa! Dammit whoa.”

I stand on the other side of the fence watching the disaster, clenching my fists, “He better not hurt our horse.”

It all started off magically. Two days prior, my Dad called me away from an intense game of Barbie’s Gone Wild. It was a PG-13 rated game. I was six, so it was best I didn’t include my three-year old sister. I felt annoyed at having to leave Barbie and Ken in that awkward position, but a person doesn’t ignore their Dad calling. Not unless you want to meet the brown belt— the big sting.

Dad stands at the bottom of the steps wearing his going out hat and coat, “Well, get your jacket. Lets go.”

“Where?” I question. I can see his friend Rodger through the window, just outside the door. I’m in awe of Rodger. He’s a cowboy.

“We’re going to see if we can get you girls a horse.” He answers, trying to downplay his smile.

My heart literally explodes in my chest, if I was 60, I would have died from an exploded heart. “A horse really!” I shout. I race down the steps stumbling at the bottom.

Riding in the truck between my Dad and Rodger, all I can think about, is our horse to be. Maybe it’ll be like the one I saw in a parade. I’ll never forget it, when I saw the shiny prancing pony stepping down the road, angels sang in my ears, and I was dazzled by the brilliance of its artistry. Right then, I knew horses were in my destiny. I could hardly sit still, I wanted to jump out of the truck and run alongside— finally— owning a horse was becoming a reality.

We arrived at the auction. My heart raced like the regal beast Dad was about to buy. Rodger led the way into the building. There was a big ring at the front fenced off, and wooden seats rose up around it, like it was the greatest show on Earth. I followed Dad and Rodger up to the middle seating area. I had to take big steps up the giant bleachers. I nestled in between Dad, and some smelly old man with a scruffy face and dirty pants. I wrinkle my nose and look up at Dad who smiles down on me.

“Pretty exciting huh?” He says.

I nod. I have no words. Dad never liked kid chatter anyhow.

He drops his head down to mine, “When the bidding starts keep your hands down.”

“Okay.” I reply, giving him my most earnest grin.

The selling starts off slow. They sell a bunch of saddles and stuff. I can hear horses whinny in the back. It makes me sit up on the edge of my seat, and strain to see past the fenced area. Some people come into the bidding area carrying hamburgers. The smell of horse poop and greasy food almost makes me hungry. I guess that’s when you really know you’re meant to have a horse.

The first horse enters, a sleek black fellow, he dances into the ring. The bidding starts.

I feel joy bubbling up. That’s going to be our horse.

Nope. Someone else bought our horse—and the next one, and next one. I start to feel my happiness ebb away. Maybe we won’t get a horse today.

In comes a black and white pinto pony. He’s short and stalky, and doesn’t shine much. He’s kinda ugly. The kid riding the pony puts him through his paces. I looked around at all the people in the stands. There is bidding, but no one else seems overly excited about him.

The auctioneer suddenly yells, “Sold.”

He points in our direction.

I look up at Dad.

He looks down with a satisfied grin, “How do you like your pony?”

“Great!” I say. Letting my expectation of a sleek, coal black horse, with an elegant head and soft eyes dissipate.

His name was Trigger. A bit foretelling, perhaps it should have been mentioned during the bidding. Two days later, as I watch him barreling towards the fence. I admire his athletic form. I’m in awe when he manages to come to an instant halt before the fence, and I am mesmerized as my cousin turns into a projectile over the fence. Trigger— his name was the most honest thing about him. My cousin was too high on himself anyhow.

Sometimes life hands you a lemon, and you get the runs.

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