You could see her shine from miles away. She had
a movie star way of standing out from other horses.
Her rich chestnut coat always looked oiled and
polished with a deep inner glow that some people
have and you can’t describe. Sort of an abundance
of life that can’t be contained in the body and
radiates from every pore

And she wasn’t easy, coming from a line of
aristocrats. No one could ever ride her mother
or grandmother and her father bucked in rodeo

My brother tried to ride her first, the place where
she broke his arm still hurts when it rains. Not a
frequent problem in Saskatchewan

She bucked me off twice, both times for arrogance

Once in front of relatives from Oregon when I
dropped a rein and leaned over her neck to get it.
I was off balance and soon off of her onto the hard
ground in front of the shed. She did step on me
some too, just to drive home the point

The other time was in a soft field where I was
teaching her to neck rein and making circles to the
left and right. A car was coming down the lane and
I turned a little in the saddle to wave

It was enough, I was loose and I was gone. She piled
me so hard and high that I came down standing up
with reins still in my hands. Pretty good I
thought and started to take a bow for the people in
the car, but the lesson wasn’t over. She came
around full force with her back end like Babe Ruth
with a bat and knocked my flat

Every morning she would buck for the first half
mile, sort of an ongoing initiation; earning the
right to be with her again and again. She would
never be taken for granted and I knew that I would have to
face that test every day, and I was scared but I always
wanted to be there

And I stayed with her every time

I guess I had my fear to keep me tight
and my butterflies to keep me light

As I partook in some small way in Alexander’s feast
and took my classics lesson there

Only the brave
Only the brave
Only the brave deserves the fair