From the time I was 4 years old, everything was "horse" for me. I wanted a horse so badly. We lived in a rural area but couldn't afford a horse.
My parents decided to teach me a lesson and get me over this "horse" business. They told me I could get riding lessons (for $2.50 an hour, hah) for my eighth birthday, but if they did that, I would get nothing else for my birthday--no cake, no presents, no special supper, no celebration of any kind. I said, "Sure, fine!"
It just so happened that my first riding lesson was on the day of my birthday. My parents took me out to the riding stable. That riding place took people on trail rides and about 3 times during the ride, the guide would turn around and say, "heels down," or "lower your hands." Not much of a lesson!
I got a brown and white pony named High Socks. We went through a deep stream, and High Socks, at the end of the trail string, stopped and began to paw. I didn't know what to do, and the trail ride moved on along without me. There I sat, alone in the woods, while High Socks pawed and pawed that water. He kept putting his head down and buckling his knees and I kept jerking his head back up.
At last the trail group came back when they realized I wasn't with them. The guide passed along a switch and told me to whack High Socks really hard. I did, and he came charging out of the water! I was so thrilled.
When I got home from the ride, my parents were ready to comment on my disappointment about nothing for my birthday. I couldn't stop grinning and chattering about every marvelous thing that happened on my ride. I was just bubbling over with enthusiasm, didn't notice or care about anything else.
My parents looked at each other and said, "Oh sh#$%." I taught them a lesson rather than them teaching me a lesson.
High Socks started to go sour not long after I started riding him. It wasn't long before they couldn't trust him with beginners. But I loved him, got along great with him, and they were glad to have a child who could manage him.