I know the questions will be coming, with my wife’s recent post on Facebook of my hand. So, here is my story, and I’m sticking to it…
It was a beautiful day in the Maluti Mountains for a nice pony ride into a remote village to share the gospel. As is usually the case, when the horses came, one of the men said, “‘Ntate Jim, you must ride this one.” That means that they don’t think anyone else can ride it. Today, that meant me, too.
All was fine, until my behind hit that little English saddle. You see, I am slightly larger than your average Mosotho…well, a maybe a little more than slightly. As a result, sometimes the horses are surprised by the difference in weight. It startles them. You might even say it alarms them. Sometimes they do things to get the unexpected weight off their backs. This particular horse did just that. I was fine for about 3 or 4 jumps…I think that may have led to a false sense of security. I had been here before and stayed in the saddle. After those 3 or 4 “jumps,” I came to a very specific realization…it was no longer about staying on, it was about how I was going to hit the ground. I did not have time to choose where, or I would have avoided the rocks…I just had to choose how. So, I took most of the fall on my forearm, then shoulder…on the rocks. That is when I noticed that my right foot was still in the stirrup, and the horse was still fairly alarmed. She was taking off, and I was kind of following, right foot first. It is funny how fast you think when these things happen. My first thought was to kick the stirrup loose with my other foot. My left foot was trailing behind, and I thought, “That’s not gonna happen.” She was beginning to drag me pretty good. I looked at my boot…”I laced it too tight this morning. It is not coming off.” The toe of my boot was twisted in the stirrup..”That’s not coming loose anytime soon. If these guys don’t get her stopped, she is gonna drag me a while.” Fortunately for me, they got her stopped after about 20 yards. I am skinned up, bruised, and a little sore, but all in all, not in too bad of shape for being bucked off on a bunch of rocks and drug about 20 yards over a bunch more. They took her away, and one of the guys said, “I am not happy with this horse.” They brought me another one, we mounted up and went on to the village. One of the Journeygirls told a Bible story, someone shared their testimony, and I preached.
It has been a really, really long time since a horse shucked me, but yesterday, one did. I am fairly sure getting shucked hurts worse than it used to.
Until ALL have heard, Jim