I remember walking around the village, going to shopkeepers to see how stuff was made, how transactions took place. I asked this official if I could go on an inspection team. He spoke a little bit of English, enough so you could have a minimal conversation. He said, “OK,” but somehow they asked me if I had ever ridden a horse. I remember having the sense you want to be polite, friendly and fit in, I guess. And I had ridden a pony at [Rye, N.Y.] Playland. You know, maybe that was it. Strictly speaking it was true. So I said, “Well, yes.” The next morning I was wakened at 6 a.m. by one of the servants. We didn’t call him a servant, but it was someone of lower-level. I was motioned to get dressed. So I got dressed and they had prepared for me to go riding, me by myself. It was like no way out.

So he helped me on the horse. I remember thinking this is like not a pony, a big creature. So the horse starts moving and all of a sudden goes into a gallop, running across this field. And I’m holding on for dear life. There nothing on the horizon except a clump of trees. And there’s low limbs. And I’m figuring out, he wants to knock me off. Like three trees here. That’s where we’re heading for, at a gallop. What to do? So I start pulling on the reins. Finally, like in the cartoons, a little before the tree limbs, horse stops. Next problem: Where did I come from? How do I get there? Horse wouldn’t go, wouldn’t turn around. How do you turn a horse? I had no idea. So finally the compromise: we start going this slow pace, sort of off to the side, and eventually we get to a farmer’s home and there’s a couple of children there. I’m sort of explaining through pointing and they’re telling me to pull the reins, these 12-year-olds. So eventually, with me becoming probably more aggressive, when he realized, or she, I wasn’t going to give in, I finally got him back. “Oh, did you enjoy yourself?” “Oh, that was great, thank you very much.”

Dale Riehl '72