My childish enthusiastic shouts of “giddyap,” always gained the same response.
An exasperated blast of sour and nicotine-tinged breath followed with the sullen instruction to, “pipe down, kid.”
Being a Bronx Zoo pony ride attendant, limited to squiring children around a muck littered oval circle was probably a boring occupation.
However, why could they not join in sage-scented scenarios my fertile imagination had concocted?
Freed from the concrete existence of upper Manhattan, I rode the open range under a never-ending blue sky, shiny spurs sparkling in the sun and adventure waiting around every butte.
Decades later, my long-forgotten cowgirl yearnings were renewed when asked to join the annual 1860s era wagon train trek over the Sierra Nevada. Every June it honors the pioneers of old by journeying from South Lake Tahoe to Placerville – near the site of California’s gold discovery.
The night before departing, excitement turned into terror as my lack of horse sense surfaced.
“Bring one of those hanging pine-scented air fresheners,” suggested the love of my life, unfortunately also a city child. “Horses smell.”
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