My dad was a farmer. He also worked alongside his dad and brother in their logging camp. They had Bee Hives, raised cattle and a few horses, among all else that entails farming.
I don’t recall ever seeing any of those men afraid of anything. They did what was necessary and never let anything get in their way. That I know of.
Who knows what fear lies in the hearts of men? Or women? Or children?
As a child, I was terrified of horses. Later, I overcame that fear and learned to love the beautiful animals.
I thought about how a young boy would fare if he were scared of horses too. That fear isn’t something easy to overcome.
This story came about thinking of how a young boy would deal with his fear of horses, and inspire other children. Or even a grown man.
I hope you enjoy this short excerpt.
A COWBOY’S HERO
Why was he so scared of horses? But then he knew why. Horses were huge and from the ground up, in his eyes, they were as big as mountains. Whatever else the problem was, he couldn’t seem to get past the fear.
“Everyone’s here and waiting, Owen.”
Owen sneaked a fleeting peek out of the window at the crowd that had gathered outside the barn.
His heart lurched. Why today? Why, when the boys from school were here? Why did he want to throw up at the thought of riding? None of them knew how his stomach hurled thinking of getting up on that skyscraper of a horse. He bit back thoughts of telling his mom to go without him, but he couldn’t refuse to join everyone on his eleventh birthday.
Especially not in front of the other boys. His classmates. Boys he had to face every school day. He’d never live down the embarrassment.
“Okay, Mom. Be there in a sec.” He rubbed the sweat from his hands on his jeans and walked to the door.
Owen manned-up and walked out to the barn, then waited for his mom while she double checked Frost’s saddle. His Nana and Papa had named her Frost because she’d been born on the first frost a year ago. Today they’d given Frost to him as a birthday gift. Little did they know the dread in his heart as Papa had handed him Frost’s reins.
Wishing the world would stop its spin, Owen waited as his turn came to mount. What would he do? The bile rolled in his stomach and slowly rose up his throat. He took a deep breath and scanned his school mates. All but one was mounted and ready for the morning ride and a picnic.
The one unmounted rider was Owen.
In a panic he approached Frost, a gentle Tennessee Walker. She flicked her head and snorted, as if to say, ‘It’s okay, Owen. Come on. Give it a try. Come on. You can do it.’
Owen put one foot in front of the other. He stopped two feet by her side. While flies crawled over Frost, she reacted by twitching, and swishing her tail much the way his heart was beating at the moment.
Oh, I can’t do it. But he had to. Had to. His classmates were waiting. Watching. Expectant.
With a trembling hand, Owen reached out and first touched Frost, then the saddle. He took a deep breath and eased his booted foot inside a stirrup.
Maddy’s heart broke for her son. The struggle he lived was real. Wasn’t eleven a mixed up age for a boy? Especially one as bright as Owen.
A memory of Scott, her ex-husband, flashed inside her head. Darn him anyway.
Owen had several issues he struggled with, but none as much as horse-back riding, which was somewhat due to Scott’s inadequacies as a father. Never had she known him to consider how his actions and words would affect his son.
If she ever saw Scott again, it would be too soon.
Until next time, I wish you Butterflies and Music. Most of all…I wish you love…