Thursday, 20 March 2014


Vivid memories of my first ride remain firmly etched in my mind.  I was all of eight years old. Feeling my child's hand within the loving grasp of my Father's always provided me with great comfort; I felt protected, safe. And so it was, hand in hand, that we approached the waiting horses.  So many choices paraded before us.

The chestnut mare, I remember thinking, must be quite friendly.  Friskily moving around the track parallel to another horse, traces of a grin graced her beautiful face as if she was smiling at an amusing comment made by her counterpart. Perky pricked ears added to her cheery, friendly personality.  I liked her; she looked like fun.

But my child's heart fell in love with the old gray.  Ears lazily laying backward, head hanging low with eyes half closed, she calmly watched her world as her beautiful silvery tail swished to and fro. In my heart I sensed that she was a gentle soul. I could trust her.

Who absolutely terrified me was the shiny blue-black stallion.  His neck was arched, his nostrils, flared and his large teeth, bared in a wide whinny.  I didn't like his wild, wide-eyed expression, either. Was he taunting me? I dare you, he seemed to say. Watching him partially rear and then take flight solidified my negative feelings.  Not you, I thought.

Time moves far too slowly for a young child; the wait for a ride seemed interminable. Minutes felt like hours.  Then suddenly, it was my turn.  Held in my Father's protective arms, we moved forward to the horses.  Wait!  Not the stallion.  But Daddy, I began to protest.  Before my terror could find words, I was lifted into the saddle and reins were placed in my trembling hands. Father's instructions were a blur.  Silent screams choked in my throat.  Tears rolled down my fear flushed cheeks.  And then....

....lights glittered, sweet, cheery music played and the carousel began to move. Wonder and joy instantly replaced fear.  Lost in my imagination, I was no longer riding in circles on a man-made platform.  My champion dancing stallion and I were speeding through the fields, his mane and my hair gaily blowing in the whistling wind.  Like steeplechase champs we jumped up and down over any and all obstacles in our way while. My trusty steed and I were one. I love you, buddy, I proclaimed, patting his mane.  Such exhilaration!  Oh, how I wished that ride, my first ride, would last forever.

The date? 1955! The location? The CNE! 

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