Roger Thompson: Horsin’ Around 9-19-11
Fort Collins, Colo.
Last week there was a knock on my front door and after answering it and separating the two dogs, one mine and the other my daughter’s. I had trouble recognizing who it was because I had not seen her nor her son in a number of years. Then when she walked past and into the house, I realized it was my daughter and grandson.
I was so embarrassed with myself, I just couldn’t believe that I had not recognized either one, atleast it was resolved by big hugs. My grandson, Joshua had grown so much since I had last seen him that I was amazed. He seemed to enjoy wandering around my place and when I would look out the window, I would see him out in the pasture just hanging around the horses.
Now my horses are gentle and I didn’t worry about him because I knew they weren’t going to hurt him. He was just getting to know them and being with them was something he had never done before. I felt it was good for him to get to know them. Unlike his female cousins, who just couldn’t stay away from them. It was good for him to get to know the horses and learn not to be afraid of them. But he never asked to ride them so I didn’t push it.
Joshua had been asking his mother to let him go with his grandpa or uncle to learn to handle a rifle and shoot for a long time. The main problem was that his father had decided to run off with another younger woman and didn’t have time for his son. So grandpa took him out on the front porch with a .22 caliber pistol and rifle. After about an hour of sitting in the living room, explaining the dangers and how to handle a weapon we went outside to set up a target.
First I had Joshua aim the .22 caliber pistol, then loaded it and let him fire it at the target. He was shooting a little high and to the right, so I tried to correct that. It is amazing to me the young men who don’t know how to handle a firearm. Growing up, when my mother thought I was old enough to be responsible, she took me out and taught me how to shoot the .22 rifle that had been my father’s.
It fell to my mother because my father had died, when I was 7-years-old, due to injuries in WWI. Of course we lived close to open country and my mother loved to spend weekends fishing. Today, young people don’t get that opportunity and that is why, in the military, they must be taught how to handle firearms.
Joshua went through 50 rounds, of course his mother had to take a turn, but I had taught her when she was about the same age and she did well. Joshua did a real good job of handling a rifle and pistol. He was pleased and I am glad that grandpa could fill in the gap for his father.
I will be cooking in a hunting camp this next week. I am looking forward to being in the mountains and getting back to what I love doing (though I will not be hunting this time).
Prior to his retirement, Roger Thompson was a CHA certified instructor of advanced Western horsemanship and beginning English riding.