As a child I loved riding horses. Huron River Stables wasn’t too far from my house. I took riding lessons every weekend, learned to jump, and joined the Drill Team that practiced after classes were finished. A dozen or more riders learned to maneuver our horses in and out of various formations in time to patriotic marching music blaring through loud speakers. The arena filled with dust from the horses hooves and we often brushed up against the knees of other riders or the flanks and necks of the heavily breathing horses as we posted or cantered our way through fancy figure eights. We wore jodhpurs, riding boots with spurs, stock shirts, black wool jackets, velvet covered helmets, and carried a leather crop. Dust motes drifted down through the pale sunlight pushing its way past dirty windows. At one end of the arena was the visitor’s center where parents could watch their children perform at the quarterly horse shows—topped off with an exhibition by the Drill Team. In all the years I took lessons, my parents never came to a horse show. I didn’t expect my father to be there; he wasn’t the participatory type. My mother’s explanation was that I could fall off a horse and get hurt—and she wouldn’t want to see that. Perhaps the combination of my delight in being carried on the back of a beautiful wild creature and the orphan feeling of being left alone by my parents made me prey to the voices that often taunted me during drill team. The prelude to the voices was a prickly feeling that spread from the roof of my mouth down to my tongue. It was as if my mouth was filling with cotton, or bumpy rubbery protrusions. Then the voices started snickering at me, over and over in a sing-songy rhythm in time with the trotting horse: “You are stu-pid, you are stu-pid. You are ug-ly, you are ug-ly.” I posted up and down, circled the ring, followed the formations, and sunk steadily into a dark and isolated mood.