What do you give a seven year old for his birthday? Video games and electric gadgets? This year my wife picked up a guitar for our son. Even though one of the other boys gave away the surprise within a half hour of getting it home, the seven year old was delighted with the guitar, crooning like a campfire chorister.
The guitar was more than enough. But I had wanted to buy him something for his budding horsemanship. He had been learning to ride on my big old horse, Baldy. The more he rode Baldy, the more it was his horse, not mine. Since he pretty much had my horse in hand, I decided to buy him a pair of spurs.
The spurs I picked out had no silver inlay, or scroll work. There was no lady’s leg shank or Mexican rowels. No jingle bobs. They were shiny plate forged smooth by a select Mandarin factory. They had small goldish rowels in a sunburst pattern more than a star’s. They were like the chrome trim of a 57 Chevy with the accelerator of a 67 Chevelle. All of this for only $14.95.
Well, the seven year old tried them out. We went for a ride out in the pasture. He rode Baldy and I rode the magpie-looking Paint. The spurs worked well. He didn’t use them much which is the best way to use them.
So we rode dodging the thistle and the gopher towns and keeping to the hardgrass until we reached the barbed wire. We rode parallel to the fence, enjoying ourselves and our expansive freedom from restraint and care. Then the wind started to blow a bit. As we neared the fenced corner, the seven year old’s horse turned. He reined in the horse as well as he could. He pulled. Hard. But there was no stopping Baldy as he pranced and bolted toward the horses to the south. I was ten feet too far to stop him. The seven year old wisely turned and bailed off, trying to protect himself like he had been shown in the steer riding.
The boy got up from the ground. His little arm was folded in half. Three breaks. I guess when you give new spurs you can expect new casts.