by Andrea Happel
On our second day here in Pine Ridge, we traveled to Wanblee to the Crazy Horse School to put on a health fair for the middle and high school students. After a successful health fair, we had the opportunity to go to Wounded Knee; however, another opportunity arose. A young man named Earl Henry offered to take us horseback riding. We, as students and teachers, came together and decided that neither opportunity could be passed up, so the students that wanted to ride stayed back while the others went to Wounded Knee. I was among those that stayed and rode horses. Earl Henry came back with his sister, Amber, and two horses, Black and Two Socks. They were both rodeo horses. Both horses were well behaved and broken. We, the students, rode Black while Earl rode Two Socks. At first, we were tethered to Earl, but towards the end, he let us ride by ourselves. While we were waiting our turns, we spoke to Amber about what horses mean in the Lakota culture. She said they signify independence and to her they help her relax. She said when she gets on her horse all her worries melt away. Her horse knows her better than a lot of people do and, because of that, she said they have a special bond. It was a very kind and generous thing for Earl Henry to do for us. The experience was extremely unique. Horses are special to the Lakota and for Earl to share his with us was once in a lifetime.