Straddling a Thousand Pound Animal

Nothing in life compared to the feel of straddling a thousand pound animal. I was four and we thought no more of getting on our horse than city kids think about riding a bicycle. Johnnie was three when David struck the rump of a horse, causing the horse to run at a break-neck speed, refusing to respond to the bit between its teeth, and leaving Johnnie on the ground with a broken arm; all in a day of running free and wild.

Kids learned to ride young, or fall a long way to a hard landing. The freedom to ride a horse from daylight to dark cannot be comprehended by a person who never felt the freedom of a frolicking colt, if only occasionally. Most people spend a lifetime and never experience the freedoms of life in the bush. In Paraguay, we traveled by boat, horse, or our own two feet.

That is what I remember most about South America. We were “free range” kids before there was a term for allowing children to roam freely about the land.


Of course, we didn’t have much traffic to worry about.


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