Illustration by Hannah Shotkoski
I wanted to ride in the cool of the night; the fierce daylight overheated my horse and made the saddle uncomfortable. I waited until the sun set before mounting my favorite horse, Smiley. It would begin as any other night of riding, but then my horse would speed up like Secretariat, the American Thoroughbred horse who won the triple crown of racing in 1973.
Smiley stood motionless and allowed me to mount. He began a deliberate gallop, but then charged full speed ahead. My legs tightened as I straddled the horse. Something was missing: there were no reins to hold onto.
I grabbed the animal’s neck with both hands in a desperate attempt to stay in the saddle as I bobbed up and down. My hips and thighs ached with each thump upon the saddle. My fingers grabbed the horse’s mane as I attempted to gain…
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