"Your daughter needs a horse to ride," I was told by a well-meaning benefactor. It was while I was presiding over nearly 200 missionaries as president of the Arizona Holbrook Mission.
"That's all I need," I responded. "One more thing to worry about."
We did have a makeshift corral behind the mission home, but a horse didn't seem like something I needed even though I was an old Wyoming transplant who loved horses as much as my daughter Renee did.
So, I shouldn't have been too surprised when I returned from a zone conference one day to see a spirited Arabian gelding stretching his neck over the corral fence. He skitted around nervously upon seeing me, and I wasn't at all certain that this was the pony I wanted my daughter to ride.
As I entered the mission home, my two assistants were there to meet me. I hardly had time to deposit my briefcase before they accosted me with, "We need to talk to you, president."
I invited them into my office, and they entered with a brief hesitation and closed the door behind them.
"Now, what is so urgent and important?" I asked.
Each waited for the other to speak. "Well," one of them began, "I guess you noticed that Brother Tingey left a horse out in the corral."
"I noticed him, all right," I assured them.
"Well, we kind of thought we would saddle him up for Renee to ride but decided one of us should try to ride him first."
They paused and waited for an uncomfortable minute. "We know it is against mission rules for us to go horseback riding."
"So?" I said.
"Well, Elder Naylor got on him and was quickly bucked off. He landed pretty hard, too. We thought you should know before Renee tried to ride him."
When I had determined that Elder Naylor was not seriously injured, I excused them and thanked them for telling me. Later that evening, Elder Naylor sought me out.
"President," he said humbly, "I'm sorry for breaking the mission rules."
"What rule was that?" I asked.
"Oh, you know. Riding horses," he said."Elder, you didn't break any rules that I know of. The rule is against riding horses. You didn't ride a horse and I don't know of any rules against getting bucked off!"
Wayne B. Lynn lives in Centerville.