Galloping Gaucho: Dad's Wild Ride

Galloping Gaucho: Dad's Wild Ride

One fine day, I'm heading home from school on the bus, my usual perch for spying on the farm fields as we approach. It's a typical farmer thing to do, right? I can't help but peer out the window, just to see what sort of agricultural chaos might be unfolding.

Lo and behold, there's my dad in the middle of a ridiculous rodeo, trying to catch our mischievous horse. It's quite the spectacle, with dad running around like a man possessed and the horse clearly enjoying the impromptu game of tag. Our trusty sheepdog is sitting there, observing the madness with a look that seems to say, "These humans, honestly!"

I hop off the bus at the farm entrance and stroll towards the house. My dad finally emerges from the field, triumphantly leading the horse on a halter. We exchange pleasantries about our day, and I can't resist asking, "What are you up to?"

"Going to break in the horse," he declares with the confidence of a seasoned cowboy.

"Have you done this before?" I ask, a little sceptical.

"Oh yes," he says, with a nostalgic glint in his eye, "I used to do it all the time when I was younger." Well, I was impressed. It seems we have our very own Argentinian gaucho.

I head inside, drop my bag off, and go upstairs to change. Just as I'm about to head back down, I glance out the window. There he is, my dad, stepping off a fence and onto the horse's back with the grace of a man who’s clearly watched one too many Westerns. I think to myself, "He actually knows what he's doing!"

But then it happens. The horse's ears pin back flat, and it takes off like Red Rum in his prime. Up and down the field they go, a blur of frantic energy. For 30 to 40 minutes, I'm glued to the window, mesmerised by this absurd equestrian ballet. My dad clings to the horse like a cat on a rollercoaster, gripping the reins, saddle, and even the horse's mane for dear life.

Finally, curiosity gets the better of me, and I head outside. The sheepdog is still there, now watching this bizarre scene with what I can only describe as bemused resignation.

Five minutes later, my very red-faced father comes trotting back, still atop the horse. To my utter disbelief, he looks like he’s in control. As he dismounts with a somewhat stiff gait, I can't help but admire his tenacity.

He won't admit it, but it's painfully clear that his back is not in the best shape. For the next three days, he can't sit down without wincing. Of course, he insists it’s from lifting something heavy and not from his wild rodeo. Sure, Dad, whatever you say.

And so, our family’s own version of Gaucho continues to live the dream, one hilarious misadventure at a time.

Red Rum was an Irish champion Thoroughbred steeplechaser. He achieved an unmatched historic treble when he won the Grand National in 1973, 1974 and 1977, and also came second in the two intervening years, 1975 and 1976. Wikipedia

Read more