Little Guy was a horse, where there were no other horses.
His home was an old estate, or the remains of one, surrounded mostly by modern suburbs and some woods.
I was a ten-year-old, who for some reason loved horses. Little Guy and I fell in love with each other.
Mostly I write about Maine, my home since 1965 from which I don't intend to wander.
But Little Guy and I lived in suburban Philadelphia, 20 miles out on the "Main Line," where during the morning and evening rush hours train commuters held sway.
I had always loved horses. I don't know why. I still love them, but now in a more wondering prospective. I see TV and movie shots of them carrying cowboys, Russian soldiers, and show business (horse show business) people.
I now realize it is cultural miracle of some strange type that horses were chosen by people for transportation, for work, and for fun. Probably it's their size and shape (Or their horsepower).
Little Guy was a 15-year-old Thoroughbred, who had taken part in the sport of fox hunting until he had broken a leg. Instead of "putting him down," the owners kept him. And now the Connors owned him.
And he owned me.
I don't remember how I knew Little Guy lived there, in a small barn across the drive from the mansion not far from our house. The Connors lived in an old mansion with property around it and woods below it. Surrounded by "new houses," as we called them.
Nor do I recall how Mike, one of their nine kids, and I became friends. What I do remember is Mike helping me onto Little Guy, who was anything but little. Looking back, I think he stood about 16 hands tall, a hand, I believe being four inches in length. He was a giant to me with Mike teaching me how to ride.
Little Guy and I rode all through the woods, which I'm guessing must have been about 20 acres or so between Suburbia and the Great Valley. The Great Valley had once been farms, and there still were some. But Suburbia was quickly moving in to where the farms had been.
But we only rode in the woods, below our neighborhood and above the farms.
On one canter along a trail in the woods, a dog jumped out and scared Little Guy, who reared and accidentally threw me. I was lying on the ground, when Little Guy stuck his long nose down to see how I had fared. I was soon up and on him again, and we finished our ride.
He once got into a corn patch behind the house, and when I tried to pull him away from it, he reared up...really high. He lifted me off the ground. I can't remember how -- or if -- I got him out of the corn patch.
I was the only rider he would not run into his barn. Others clung to life as he raced into the barn with them aboard, until the top of the door unseated them. He would take me to the barn and stop while I dismounted.
In the barn one night, I sat on the floor with Little Guy's big head lying across my knees. A true love affair.
I finished school, went off to college, and moved to Maine. I do not know what became of Big Guy.
I see horses in fields occasionally, here in Maine. But I always think of Big Guy.
We belonged to each other.
|We found these horses on a back road from Searsport. We stopped and took the photos of them because, well, because they were horses. Milt Gross photo.|
Milt Gross can be reached for corrections, harassment, or other purposes at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Milton M. Gross Copyright 2014