So I saved a poor cowboy somewhere and chose to ride a horse instead. Last weekend with my aunt, I visited the barn where she boards her horse. We cleaned and saddled two valiant steeds, and then we rode!
It had been years (eight??) since I got up on one of those beasts, so Pam, the lady who owns the place, gave me a lesson. I learned how to go, stop, turn, and trot. "Back in the day" when I went on the occasional trail ride, I probably cruelly jerked the reigns to direct my horse. But this time around I learned to control the horse with leg movements. Basically I was so sore afterward that for three days I waddled like a duck.
...For the real riding I used a saddle. Pip was grateful (I'm bony).
Apart from wrecking my manicure, wading through ankle-deep mud, and sullying my clothes and face, it was a wonderful good time. Howdy.