Someone wants to ride your horse? (You’re welcome.)

Everybody dreams of riding horses. Don’t they? OK, nearly everyone. And, when non-horsey folks hear of friends who have horses, isn’t this a frequent request?

"Can I ride your horse?"  (Or my personal favorite, "Can my kid ride your horse?)

Wait a second.

Do you hear that noise?

That’s the sound of hundreds of horse lovers, all cringing at once. In the background, maybe you can also make out the sound of tons of insurance adjusters, revving up their calculators to re-evaluate our collective premiums (if we even carry equine insurance). Listen carefully, and you might also hear scores of barn owners groaning over the possible liability suits that may arise, regardless of any signed waivers, if Johnny Noclue or Katie Neverrode should be suddenly launched from a horse loaned by a too-trusting owner.

And in the distance, you might also pick out the sound of an equine veterinarian, warming up the truck for another barn call.

So here’s one direction the horse riding request conversation might go.

“You have a horse? Can I come ride him?”

“Well, let’s see. You have a fancy motorcycle. Can I come out and try it?

“I’m not sure that’s such a good idea. It can be a little unpredictable. It sort of has a mind of its own.”

“Ah, I see.”

You’re welcome, fellow horse lovers.

It’s not that horse owners are stingy. It’s just that many of us work long and hard to afford our own horses, so we can school and train and care for them, hoping to follow our equestrian pursuits for the long haul. We know and understand the potential dangers of stepping up onto huge, strong, energetic creatures with their own attitudes and wills. And we have at least an inkling of the possible legal and financial ramifications of putting our prized animals or our friends at risk.

After all, horses aren’t exactly bicycles.

My bike, I’d readily loan to a friend. My horse, not so much. 

Created by this user, including public domain artwork

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