Okay, we lived in Central Florida, in a town (and I use that term lightly—I don’t know if it really was a town) called “Croom-A-Coochee.” It was a great place to live for kids. So the land next to our seven acres was owned by one of the Lamb families. I was friends with their daughters, Kim and Charlene (“Charlie”) and they had a horse, a Paint named Patches. Patches was a beautiful chestnut and white mare. But she was feisty and sometimes cruel.
She had had a foal the previous year. Unattended at birth, the foal died in the pasture. Patches, they said, went through a hard time because of it and the family worried if she would ever be ride-able again.
They were patient and tended to her as much as they could. The stallion involved was a rogue, named Gator, and they eventually had to sell him because he pissed Patches off all the time. Men, hmph!
Anyway, Kim was the alpha rider for Patches. Kim was an itty-bitty thirteen-year-old girl but had a big attitude and was in no way threatened by Patches’ attitude. Once when we were saddling for a ride, Patches tried to squish Kim against the barn railings. Kim just balled up her fist and gave Patches a quick sock to the side. Patches moved over. Patches was not fun to ride next to either. We had to give her some room when we rode other horses next to her, otherwise she would kick them in the face or legs. Patches was a pretty angry horse.
Okay so this was her deal: if she saw you in her pasture, she would bolt towards you and try to stomp you into the ground. No kidding. One day I was headed to another kid’s house, but a shortcut was through Kim’s pasture. I looked over the barbed-wire fence, and could see that Patches was way out there on the farthest side of the pasture. I thought I could just quietly walk along the sides of the property fence, and then once I needed to part with that, I could high-tail it to the other side, before Patches noticed me.
That was my idea. So it was okay until that part where I had to cut across a large corner, about an acre’s worth, to make it a shortcut to my other friend’s property. I was about one-fourth of the way across when I looked up and saw Patches barreling towards me in a full-on gallop! I started running like my butt was on fire! I could hear her huffing, and her hooves hitting the dirt, and she was pissed! I ran as fast as I could, adrenaline flooding my body, fear giving me flight.
Just as I thought I was going to be trampled by this crazed horse, I reached the barbed-wire fence and DOVE through it. I crawled through the oak trees, shoulders hunched, and knees taking a beating through the briars while expecting any second for this horse to chomp chomp chomp my head off or a limb! I could feel her breath on my back, until I turned around and was flush against an oak tree trunk … trapped for a second with Patches huffing and whiney-ing at me.
Oh yeah, and once I remembered how, I started yelling at the top of my lungs for help. Kim came out and called Patches to her. Patches raced towards Kim, and I checked to see if I’d wet my pants.