Happy Father’s Day 2020 (“My Debbie”)

Many years ago my family had a farm in Western Pennsylvania. We had many animals like cattle, sheep, and pigs. When my Grandmother lived on the farm, we also had chickens.  I enjoyed picking eggs every day. 

One day my Dad bought some horses and ponies! Wow! A new adventure!  Also, a cousin give us her female horse. She asked Dad if we want her. Sure! We find out later that “Nellie” is pregnant. Surprise! We pick up Nellie in April and her foal (baby) was born in May.  We wait and watch Nellie give birth! A little filly (girl).  We named her “Debbie.” I enjoyed watching her grow up from filly to mare. 

My Dad then buy four ponies! He liked the idea of a two-pony team, ‘yoked together’ to pull a small wagon. “Smoky”, “Libby”, and “Blacky” are gentle.  “Bandit” had a mind of his own.  He sure lived up to his name! He is ok to pull a wagon, alone. But, when Dad yoked Bandit to Smoky, Bandit did not behave. Why? Smoky go in direction my Dad wanted, but not Bandit. He go in opposite direction! The first time my Dad put a yoke on them to pull the wagon?  A disaster!  They break the wagon and it need repair. Strange, but true. Bandit pull wagon all by himself, no problem. But, Bandit did not want to work with another pony. It take much patience to train ponies to obey, and some never learn.        

Matthew 11:29-30 “Take up my yoke and learn from me, because I am lowly and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (CSB)  

While Debbie grew up, I trained her to like me. I also wanted to know her well. Why? So we can have a “bond”, and for her to trust in me. At about a year and a half year old, we needed to wean Debbie from her Mother, Nellie. We move Debbie to a different pasture, far from Nellie. My Dad and I then drive over to feed Debbie. When Debbie see us she run to us. I walked her a little, and lead her around with a halter. Later I used a bridle, and then later on, also with a bit. It take a lot of patience! I usually bring her a treat like an apple, carrot or a sugar cube. Maybe that’s why she gallop to me!  

All her training was done, and now was the time to “break” her.  We wait two years so the horse’s back is strong enough to support human weight, and Debbie is now two years old! Now I lead her with a bridle on her and use a mouth bit. A family friend, Scott, offer to ride her first. He has experience with horses, but still have a wild ride! At least Debbie didn’t try to buck him off. Then my turn come to ride Debbie. I was nervous! But, Debbie is more familiar with me in the field. Off we go! We soon arrive at a ditch of water in the field. I think it be ok. But I was not prepared for a jump!  I fell off!  As the saying go, you have to get back up and try again. I ride her around some more, and then back to everyone else. I think my Dad was proud of me that I rode well.  

The next few years I do a lot of horseback riding!  My girlfriend and I often ride after school. We put the bridle on our horses, but no saddle. We ride bareback! Whenever we go away from the horse barn, our horses go slow, unless we want them to do a “canter”. A canter is faster than a “trot” or walk but slower than a gallop. But, when we head back to the barn they know the way home. So we let them lead, and off we go.  We hold on for dear life!  We hold onto their mane and “dig in” with our knees to hold on so we not fall off. When we arrive at the barn, we groom and feed them before we left for home.  I truly loved riding my Debbie!     

Oh.  Those were my fun days on the farm. I’m glad and thankful my Dad buy some horses and ponies. We had four horses, but one died, and four ponies. My Debbie was special for me. I rode her for about 6 to 7 years. It was a wonderful time in my life for me. Many good memories they were indeed. 

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