Last night, we watched the Steven Spielberg movie, Warhorse. It was the saddest movie I’ve ever seen. Beautiful horses, characters you couldn’t help but root for. I loved it. My daughter, who was a horse-lover when she was young, wasn’t home and didn’t get to see the movie.
Tomorrow is her birthday. She’ll be twenty—no longer a teenager. As I thought about the movie, the horses, and my birthday girl, I recalled one of our family vacations in South Dakota. Samantha was nine-years-old. We had been in the Black Hills and Custer State Park area for a few days when we saw an advertisement for horseback riding. We decided to stop at the ranch and inquire about their tours. Soon, we were part of a large group of tourists, mostly families, going on a trail ride led by two employees of the ranch.
My husband was an experienced rider, but the kids and I hadn’t been on a horse before. I was torn–I wanted to take my camera with me, but I worried I might fall off my horse and break the camera. My desire to get photos won.
We were each helped onto a horse, and then lined up. One guide took the lead, and situated my daughter (the youngest rider in the group) up front with her. The other guide went to the back of the line. I, my son, and my husband were somewhere in the middle. Our horses started trotting along, and everything was going great—until we heard a commotion behind us. Everyone stopped and looked back to see what was going on.
It didn’t take long to figure out that a man had fallen from his horse, and his foot was caught in the stirrup. The guide nearest him went to his aid. The other horses got spooked, and the rest of us—trying not to panic—worked on calming down our horses. The other guide came back to help everyone.
Suddenly, I looked around for our nine-year-old daughter. She wasn’t there. I searched in the distance and finally spotted her way up ahead, trotting along. I yelled out. The guide who had been with her took off after my daughter and guided her back to the group. By then, the horses had all quieted down and the man had gotten back up on his horse. We continued our ride, but I honestly don’t remember the rest.
While we were all waiting for things to settle down, I had pulled out my camera and captured much of the adventure on camera. I’m so glad I took the camera with me.