I Once Had a Horse

I once had a horse. OK, it was only a hobby horse, but it was still a horse.

Hobby Horses 1

Hobby Horses 1

SOURCE: Hobby Horses 1 (Albany, Albany County, New York). Photographed by Jane A. Danko in 1958 or 1959.

My sister had an identical horse and our neighbor had a similar one.

Hobby Horses 2

Hobby Horses 2

SOURCE: Hobby Horses 2 (Albany, Albany County, New York). Photographed by Jane A. Danko in 1958 or 1959.

I remember asking my parents for a horse several times when I was young. The answer was always the same: “We don’t have room for a horse!” Despite the fact that their answer was true, I still wanted a horse. So, they gave my sister and me hobby horses.

No matter that we could pretend to ride around on our hobby horses, it just wasn’t the same, and I don’t remember really having much interest in the hobby horse. I did, however, get a chance to ride on a real horse twice in my lifetime.

Once, when I was very young, a man was offering pony rides and my parents allowed me the chance of my young life to ride. Unfortunately, the pony only walked in circles, very slowly, and my efforts to get the pony to gallop went unrewarded. Who knew that a real pony ride would be little more exciting than riding a hobby horse?

The second (and last) chance I had to ride a horse was at Philmont Scout Ranch in Cimmaron, New Mexico. By this time I was in high school and somewhat more prepared for a more exciting ride. Alas! The horses were trained to simply follow the tail of the horse in front of them and our horse ride consisted mostly of a leisurely walk – a four beat gait where the horse always has three feet on the ground. A few times during our ride, I had to urge my horse into a trot – a two beat gait where the horse has two, diagonally opposite feet on the ground at all times.

My experiences with horses never left me with the desire for more. While some of my friends have owned horses and have derived a lot of pleasure from riding their horses, I’m content to watch the equestrian events at the Olympics and the occasional rodeo event.

Written for the Carnival of Genealogy

Copyright © 2009 by Stephen J. Danko

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