Austin was five years old when his father took him from their little farm to the stables just up town. He wouldn’t know it then, but it would be the first step towards his life changing forever. “What are these things?” He asked with his cowboy hat on and his neckerchief around his neck. “Well boy. We have a farm but we are yet to get these little critters. These are called horses. Your Pa would do riding every Saturday afternoon for hours on end back in the old days."
Austin tilted his head. “I miss Mommy.” His father gives him a hug but with no reply. It was at that moment that one horse neighed causing Austin to hide behind his father. He would learn he was afraid of horses. It was at the gift shop of that farm that he got his first horse plushie from his father. It was to try and teach him that those animals are not bad. Even if they frightened him.
Austin was 16 years old when he started taking his role on his family farm seriously. Collecting eggs from the chickens, milking the cows. He turned a few eyes from a few teen girl Jelly Bean Dragons when he simply picked up bales of hay. Hay isn’t that heavy. It was the fact he was a good guy Jelly bean with a southern accent that made a few females swoon and “awe”. “Austin…” One of the female Jelly Beans said with her eyes fluttering. “Can you teach me how to ride a horse?” Austin gulped. “I’ll see darlin’. It’s just that I have a lot on my plate.” Well wasn’t that a lie and a half? He still remembered the day when he was five years old and he was frightened of horses. He kept making excuses for why he wouldn’t teach her. “I haven’t learned fully to teach you properly.” He’d say. “My schedule is a fully booked darlin’” were just a few of the lies he told.
It was Austin’s 21st birthday when he woke up and stared at his plushie. The horse plushie his father gave him to not be afraid of said animals when he was five. How funny was that? He never got over his fear of horses… And then it clicked. 21 years and it finally clicked. He was making excuses for why he couldn’t ride horses all these years. His father was making excuses for why they couldn’t have horses on the farm. “There’s not enough room on the farm.” “We have enough animals on our farm to look after.” Were just a couple to state a few. Well. Maybe if he stopped making excuses and lying to himself, his father would too.
“Pa, I’m going horse riding.” “What?” his father said, almost spilling his coffee out all over the table. “You got me that plushie when I was only just a little bean to have me face my fears. Well, I think it’s time I started facing them after all these years.” That was a half lie. Just a little white lie. He was going horse riding that day. Shivering in his boots. But he hoped, he really hoped that his father would tell him the real reason why they can’t have horses on their farm.
Your heart beats so fast. Your vision goes blurry. These are only two of the things that happen when you face your biggest fear. He hopped up on the horse and it took him for a ride of his life. By that I mean… He fell off it. Ba DUM. The sound of the grass when you hit the ground. That was it? That was what he was afraid of? Falling? Sure it hurt but…Not that much. He kinda wanted to get right back onto it. And so he did. And he didn’t fall off that time. He enjoyed horse riding. He loved it.
“Well done son!” His father hugged him wholeheartedly. “Thanks, Pa.” He said with a smile “It’s just such a shame we can’t have horses at our farm.” His father gulped. “Let’s go for a walk. There’s something I have been wanting to share with you for as long as I can remember.” The sun was setting, and as they walked under the setting sun he spoke. “We can have horses it’s just… Your mother.” He chuckled. “I and your ma would go horse riding every Saturday for hours on end. It just… It hurts you know.” Austin nodded before speaking. “If she was still alive… I bet she would wish we would have horses on our farm so that I could ride them. So that I could experience the happiness that brought you two closer together.”
It was the day after that his father went out and bought four horses for their farm. 21 years and Austin hadn’t named his horse plushie. He had been so frightened of them that just calling the plushie “Horsie” was enough. Austin finally gave it a name. Summer, after his mother.
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