The first horse that ever truly scared me was Smoke. It was the day before Halloween, and the Maine Trail Riders Association was having a Halloween ride. It was great, with all the little devils on horseback, the ghostly mares, the Hawaiian ladies, and, of course, me, Becky, and my gypsy guy, Smoke. We were dressed in feathers, and we were a flash of purple and black. We were having so much fun, riding down the trail, getting jumped (or almost dumped, in my case) by dirtbikes and fourwheelers. We rode for a couple hours, enjoying the scenery and the nearby highway, looking at the old buildings, and preventing our horses from playing with cows. It was on this ride that Smoke would truly scare me, and make my horseback riding days flash before my eyes.

We had been doing quite well when we stopped at a little corner store, where we would rest and have lunch. Sally, Smoke and Nugget’s owner, and I traded off times to go to the store to get our lunch, first her going while I watched the mischievous horses, and then her watching as I got my lunch. We had finally gotten settled in, and we were sitting together with the rest of the IVITRA members, when he did it.

I heard a scuffle, and I looked up at my majestic beauty, whom was currently pulling back on his lead line, which was tied to a tree. I was prepared to stand and calm him when his front hooves left the ground. As I watched, he reared up, only restrained by his lead. I didn’t comprehend for a moment, but the shouts brought me back to my senses.

“Becky, move! He’s goin’ over!” In an instant, I was grasping at dirt, dragging myself from where I had been sitting behind him, looking like a fool, yet trying to save myself. I heard the snap as the lead finally broke, and Smoke gracefully landed back on the ground, shaking his mane and going back to forage for more grass. I sat there, shocked at my near escape, and Sally shook her head. That was the fourth lead line that he had broken in one year. As we scrambled around, catching the escapee and trying to repair the lead so that we could tie him once more, he looked content, watching the people around him with a leaf hanging from the corner of his mouth. He probably thought we were crazy.

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