Merlin was a school horse. He was the first horse I rode as an adult. In the beginning of our relationship he would bite me on the butt and I swear would laugh at me. What could I do? I bought him. Now we have a loving relationship that does not involve biting, but still involves a lot of laughs together.
Merlin Bit Me On The Ass — And Laughed
My First Time Riding A Real Horse
As a young girl, I had ridden the summer of 1972 (note: “ridden” = violently bucked off repeatedly) a few times and that included post-bucking assault and battery by the two semi-feral farm ponies on my grandparents farm in Hagerstown, MD. Those few childhood encounters involved being stomped on, kicked, and bitten by said ponies. I also took a few lessons at a summer horse camp that also involved more bites, kicks, falls, and mishaps than actually being on the back of a horse.
But I still loved horses even though it appeared that they did not love me.
I never lost my horse lust as I grew up, but I did lose hope. Nearly 40 years had passed since I was bitten, stomped, bucked off by ponies and I had kids, a husband, my own business now. I believed the lie many women believe: meeting our own needs, desires, and wants should come last in life, if at all.
But now, here I was in my fifties about to take my first official riding lesson — about to actually get on a real horse (not a kitchen chair that I pretended was a horse) — about to hopefully not get bitten, kicked, stomped on, bucked off, or fall off.
His name was Merlin. He was a gentle school horse, getting on in his years. He was small, and showed no interest in me whatsoever. I figured if I was not even worthy of being acknowledged by him, I must not be worth wasting valuable bucking energy on as well.
I wanted to do this... I slowly pulled down one stirrup. The small gray horse bit me squarely on the ass and looked away quickly as if it had never happened.
It started to come back to me now… I love horses … oh, yeah, all horses hate me…
I can do this… Now, wondering if may I was about to be bitten, kicked, stomped, or bucked off just like in my carefree childhood days by vicious ponies, I walked around slowly to his other side, held my breath and nervously pulled down the other stirrup.
Again, Merlin bit me squarely on the ass and quickly looked away. I swear he was laughing at me.
I have to do this… I was taking a semi-private lesson with my daughter — a fighter who never gives up on anything. I had to be brave. And so, I moved to the mounting block, taking as much time as I possibly could, and mounted the horse who was now sticking his tongue out at me.
Yep. He was laughing at me.
(He would bite me one more time when I dismounted and went to raise my stirrups.)
Hiding My Fear
I knew horses could sense fear. My grandmother told me I was bucked off because I was scared and “those ponies, they are crafty, mean, and smart. They prey on your fear.” She told me I had to show the horse I was in control.
So I rode that little gray horse hard that day to show him who was the boss — yep, I gave it all I had. Yep. Walked a few laps and then trotted for two entire laps before I was so exhausted I called it quits.
The little old school horse who barely lifted his head was the boss.
But that glorious day was still was enough to snap me to life again. I felt like I was twelve years old and I had horse fever, bad. Now I remember why, as a kid, being bitten, kicked, bucked off, and stomped on wasn’t enough to make me stop loving horses. Horses are awesome. Even to grownups. Even when they bite you in the ass. Heck, especially when they bite you in the ass.
I eventually bought that laughing horse who was totally annoyed with me and now we are the best of forever friends. He doesn’t bite me any longer, but we still laugh together.