Growing up on a resort on Big Stone Lake was the cat’s meow. I mean, I lived right next to the lake, right next to the state park, and just a short distance away, our neighbors had a farm.
With a couple of horses.
I mean, it doesn’t get much better than that.
I remember that once in a while I’d get a hankering to go for a horseback ride so I’d hoof it up the hill to the Thyne’s farm. I suppose it was about a mile from our house to theirs. Bob and Donna had this great, big family, the only problem was that the girls were all older than me and the youngest one, Linda, was just enough older than me that she didn’t really want to play with me. I mean, I get it. It would have been pretty uncool to play with me. But Donna was a wonderful lady and sometimes she would tell the younger girls that they had to play with me. When that happened I was in seventh heaven.
I’m not so sure that Linda and Patty thought it was such a great deal, but they endured.
I distinctly remember the times I would want to ride Smoky, their horse. Smoky was nearly as fat as he was tall. He was also the laziest horse in the world. Pretty much all he wanted to do, in my recollection, was stand around and eat. He certainly was not interested in giving horseback rides.
However, periodically I would show up at the farm hoping to talk someone into letting me ride horse. Despite the fact that this is precisely what I had set out to do, I was rather timid about asking. I would hee-haw around for a while, just kind of hanging out, and finally I’d get up enough courage to ask. Of course, none of the girls would want to get the horse out, saddle him up and take me for a horseback ride.
But Donna, bless her soul, would generally step in and demand that one of the girls do so. Donna was the best.
And so Smoky would be prepared. Now Smoky was incredibly stubborn and unwilling. But I was determined and so was Donna. So the girls had no choice and neither did Smoky. Donna would win the battle. I suspect Donna won pretty much any battle she engaged in.
In all honesty, I don’t remember many of the details, as I was very young. What I do remember quite vividly is that once I was onboard Smoky, by legs and feet stuck straight out, side to side, because Smoky was rather rotund and my legs were short and didn’t go ‘round his middle. I also remember that Miss Thyne had to use hay to lure and, well, basically drag Smoky about a quarter of a mile down the road, in the road ditch, towards the entrance of the state park. This was a long, slow, tiresome process that was a battle between the horse and the girl. Eventually the girl would win. Once we reached the entry of the state park, Smoky’s rein was let go and he would run, full speed, back to the farm.
That was the part I loved.
I would beg to do it again. And again. And again.
Until Linda or Patty or whichever Thyne girl would grow sick and tired of dragging the horse around so that he could run back to the farm. Then the fun (for me) would be over and I’d go home again, happy to have had my horseback ride.
Maybe this is why I love Disney so much…the long, slow, tiresome wait in line followed by the exhilarating rush of the ride. There seems to be a pattern there, doesn’t there?