My dad loves big, tall horses. Slim, the one dad is holding was one of his favorite horses - and mine. He was huge, I had to literally climb up his leg, then grab ahold of some mane and hope that he didn't shy before I was in the middle of his back.
We rode bareback until our balance was developed and then we got a saddle pad to ride on. My sister, she is a wonderful horsewoman! She rides just like my dad, natural and beautifully! I was very small one day when Mom saw Dad come riding up on Slim - "that man is one of the best riders I have ever seen!" she said. Con rides just like him - (she has saddles, buckles, trophies etc to prove it; she's also recruited a lot to judge.) I, on the other hand, had all the unforeseeable accidents with horses. I loved them, but was just a little afraid.
Slim was an excellent horse, his one and only flaw - he would shy! At butterflies, at wind, at balloons, at the lights of a night rodeo, at nothing.........and when he did he either reached out to paw 'the booger' or he jumped away from it. He was the smoothest horse I ever rode, he'd put you right up on a calf, or give his heart to turn that steer you'd just headed - I loved this horse.
I must have been around 10 when I caught Slim, didn't want to saddle him because he was too dang tall - so put the hackamore on and away we went. Dad was in town, the cowboys were moving cattle on the desert, no one was around to tell me "no'. We had this place up on a bench that was great to jump horses on, or so we thought. The jumps weren't high and we had so much fun up there. The ground though, was very hard, and was hard on the horses legs. We were jumping and having a grand ol' time when it was my turn. I decided to go for the big jump, Slim was a great jumper. This time he boogered at something and lost his focus, going down on his knees hard. The ground tore them up - looked like hamburger meat. I started crying, Con was trying to get me to calm down so we could figure out how to get him home and doctored before Dad saw him. She being the oldest would get blamed even though it wasn't her fault. We were several miles from the barn and decided to walk him to the creek, wash his legs and then walk home. The entire way there I thought about how stupid I was, what if this ruined Slim? He was such a sweetheart and would give his all for me and I did this! How mad would Dad be? It was a VERY long walk home.