| Yosef Chaim |

Hold Your Horses

o, Yosef Chaim, what’s it to be?” Abba asked me at the breakfast table. It was a week before my birthday and I got to choose what I wanted for a present. I already knew what I wanted (I’d been thinking about it for ages, of course!)

“I want to go horseback riding!” I announced.

Horseback riding? you’re probably thinking. Yep; one of my favorite things about Tzfat is that we’re surrounded by great countryside, with mountains, valleys, streams, and forests.

And up in the forest above Tzfat there’s a big stable with lots of horses, and we often see them being ridden on the forest paths. It looks like so much fun, and I’ve never actually ridden a horse (well, apart from that time when I sat on the back of a tiny pony and was led up and down the promenade in Teveria, but I don’t think that really counts, does it?)

Abba wasn’t so surprised; he knows about my love for horses.

“Okay, a deal is a deal. I’ll book you on a trek through the forest from Biryah Ranch,” he promised

So it was all booked and I waited excitedly. My birthday arrived, and Abba took me up to the stables in Biryah Forest. There was a bunch of people all waiting for the trek, both adults and kids. The staff were handing out riding helmets to everyone and making sure they fit. Meanwhile, the parents were chatting to each other.

“We thought horseback riding might help Yossi,” I heard someone say to Abba. “He doesn’t have much self-confidence and his therapist suggested this.”

I looked over to see the kid whose father was talking. He was smaller than me — nine, maybe ten, skinny, with a scared, shy look about him. Poor kid, I thought, he looks like he’s scared someone might bite him!

Soon we were all fitted out with helmets and horses and lined up in a row, ready to go. My horse was a beautiful chestnut color, while Yossi’s, who was in front of me, was a pretty dappled gray.

“Okay, everyone, listen!” the guide called. “Your horses are well-trained and know the path. All you need to do is keep your seat and follow the horse in front and everything will be fine. Understood?”

Sounded simple, and we were ready to go. The horses didn’t need much instruction; they’d done this trek a million times, and anyway all they needed to do was follow the horse in front. It felt kind of weird sitting high on the horse and rocking back and forth as it walked. I hadn’t realized it was such a bumpy ride.

It was fun riding through the forest, accompanied by the snorts and neighs of the horses calmly plodding along. But I wanted more action. I wanted to gallop through the trees with my peyot flying out behind me. Little did I know… (Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 733)


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Tagged: Yosef Chaim