"Playing Games ..." was published in the above book "Angel Horses." The editors of the book did some editing, however, I am posting my original story.
Playing Games with My Pal Brady
My daughter, Candace, was taking riding lessons at a ranch outside of San Marcos, California. One day, a truck delivered a horse to the ranch for a woman who was also taking lessons. Before making a purchase, she wanted to ride Brady, a thoroughbred of about seventeen hands. The woman decided Brady was too much horse for her. The trainer at the ranch asked Candace to ride him. It was love at first site. They were one. That same day we bought Brady. Candace and Brady immediately became a team. Most of her free time was spent riding Brady.
After graduation, Candace worked for a year saving money for a six-month backpacking trip to Europe with our neighbors daughter. Candace insisted that I take riding lesson, so I could exercise Brady while she was away. Although I had been riding horses most of my life, I looked forward to a little English training and some jumping. I had jumped western style, but never English. This would be a new, interesting experience.
After our exercise, Brady and I played a simple game in one of the arenas. I moved him to the end of the arena, and then I went to the middle, holding a lunging whip. I’d say, "Okay, Brady," and he would immediately try to get past me. I never hit him with the whip; just cracked it in front to turn him. We had fun, and after a few attempts, he managed to get past me. The people at the ranch thought I was nuts. They were laughing, nobody played games with their horse; horses are for riding. I may be nuts, but Brady and I bonded.
When Candace returned from Europe, she attended American Conservatory Theatre (A.C.T.)) in San Francisco. After her class ended, she decided to stay in San Francisco. We brought Brady home to a pipe corral that we set up next to our house. The house was on a knoll. Our land was between two neighbors on the hill. There was a large field, bordered by trees, in front of our property that sloped down into a small valley. The driveway was open, and we shared a dirt road, that led to a paved street below.
We left the corral gate open most of the time, so Brady was free to roam. we only