The First Ride in History

by Mary Wlodarski


Maybe it happened like this:

A group of young warriors,
drunk on power of subduing
their neighbors, searched for a new conquest.
Over a hill was a band of ponies grazing.
With their ropes and weapons, the young men
crept up to the ponies, capturing one.
The trembling horse called to her herd
who was fleeing. One by one the warriors
locked their legs around her back or shoulders.
One by one she fought them, but she was outnumbered
and eventually was broken. They led her back
to their camp. She was never the same.

Or maybe it happened like this:

At the edge of the ponies’ grazing land
was a camp, with a small girl who wandered away
from her mother. Each day she would study
the horses. The horses studied the human.

One pony strayed from the herd
wandered closer to the girl. Eventually they
were nose to nose. The girl reached for the pony,
but it jumped back.
So she waited. And the pony
came to her again.
They played this game
for a summer until the girl could walk with
the pony as it grazed, and lie next to the pony as it napped.

As the season changed so did the path of the ponies.

When the ponies returned, the girl came back to them,
and her pony trotted over happy to see her human.

One of the days the girl came to see the pony,
she knew there was something wrong with the girl.
She sat on the ground, and the pony stayed close,
but ran out of grass. The pony laid down by the girl,
nudged her to her side, until the girl sat on the pony
wove her fingers into her mane.
The pony got up slowly and the girl stayed
draped over her back.
The pony carried her like this
all day. And as the sun dipped, the pony carried her home.

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