(“. . . standing over me with a quizzical look on his face.”)

I know you have heard this all before. Wear your seatbelt! Don’t run with scissors! Don’t leave a loaded gun at your child’s place at the dinner table! And, oh, about that riding helmet . . .

The turning point was probably Courtney King’s accident. Since then most of us have been wearing ours all or at least most of the time.

There was one instance not long ago that I did not. I was just planning a quiet stroll around the farm on a mannerly and well behaved horse on a warm afternoon.

I put the mounting block in the yard near the barn, tacked him up, and took him outside. Irons pulled down, he stood rocksteady and let me put my leg over him as I do every day. And suddenly he began bucking in place like an absolute maniac!

At first I thought I could ride it out, but he just didn’t stop. I decided that bailing was my best choice which I did rather indelicately, landing in a heap underneath him and giving my skull a moderate bump.

By then he was standing over me with a quizzical look on his face, and I realized there were dozens of fire ants crawling under my shirt and biting me like crazy. Obviously I had parked the mounting block in the wrong place, and he had just been trying to rid his legs of them.

So as it turned out, no harm was done. But after the fact it was one more example of “Listen to your mother (or whomever). She knows best!”