Letters to My Granddaughter, No. 41

By | December 9, 2023

[December 9, 2023]  He was the most gorgeous black stallion I’d ever laid my eyes upon; his breed was a Morgan.  I had a curious outlook on what it was like to be an adult.  And that is expected of a young, outdoors, fun-loving, mostly shy kid from the Deep South.  One of those experiences involved riding horses and riding them bareback.  We knew no other way.  If you wanted to be a good “young man,” then you did things like riding horses without a saddle, scrounging good junk from the town dump, cleaning up your yard and that of your neighbors, running errands for local businesses, staying out of trouble with the law, and helping out widowed women with a few chores.  We all knew this, and we aimed to be good, which we were told would lead to a good life.  To be a grown-up, independent, strong, and creating a family was more prestigious and exciting than going to school and being a kid living at home.

At six, I was not too young to be riding a horse.  I was late learning how to ride compared to the children in my school who lived on nearby farms.  In those days, the only training you got before getting on a horse was to “hold on tight.”  On my first attempt, I fell off from my lack of proper balance, which had nothing to do with the horse, who didn’t move.  Once I said “giddy up” (like in cowboy movies), time went fast.  That riding experience did teach me a few lessons about horses.  First, horses have personalities and can remember you.  So, please don’t treat them poorly.  And never let them be the boss, or you will pay the price later for that failure.  Second, a horse’s teeth occupy more space in their head than their brains, but they are not stupid.  I also found that they are highly food motivated and you can use this to get on their good side and train them properly.  And third, horses are herd animals and like being around other horses and people, but only if they like you.  I learned this last lesson the hard way.

The horse that first day, stabled near a friend’s home, was named “Rebel.”  It was such a cool-sounding name.  I had not the slightest clue that the name might describe his personality.  “Giddy up,” I called out in my high-pitched, nervous voice, and away we went at a full gallop.  At least, that is what it seemed like.  The trees were flying by past, and my friends were left far behind.  I leaned left, or was it right, and promptly hit the ground with a thud.  Fortunately, nothing was broken; I checked for injuries as I dusted myself off.  The horse continued into a farmer’s cottonfield to be found and returned hours later.  My friends were with me in a few minutes, patting me on the back and saying how thrilled they were that I “rode that horse like a real cowboy.”  It was an exaggeration, but I smiled and said, “I did it.”  This was a small, a very small victory to becoming a man, and it felt darn good.

But it was dumb luck that kept me from getting killed that day.  The horse Rebel was euthanized a year later after stomping a man to death.  He was all black, sleek, very big, and full of life.  Rebel was a beautiful creature.  I desperately wanted to impress my friends that day; maybe I did.  We all talked about my brief ride with my Mom.  She said, “Just don’t get yourself killed.”  Yep, that’s precisely what any mom would say to her young son wanting to grow up fast.  The wild ride was part of an adventure, and I would ride again but not until many years later in the Army.  I did learn that I had personal limits to overcome, like fear of the unknown and dealing with a horse that can kill.  I also learned that if you fall, get up, dust yourself off, and walk tall.  You and your friends will respect you for it.


Please read my books:

  1. “55 Rules for a Good Life,” on Amazon (link here).
  2. “Our Longest Year in Iraq,” on Amazon (link here).
Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I provide one article every day. My writings are influenced by great thinkers such as Friedrich Nietzsche, Karl Jung, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Jean Piaget, Erich Neumann, and Jordan Peterson, whose insight and brilliance have gotten millions worldwide to think about improving ourselves. Thank you for reading my blog.

38 thoughts on “Letters to My Granddaughter, No. 41

  1. Lou Schmerconish

    A beautiful letter to your granddaughter and she is very fortunate. I hope that she finds these letters interesting enough to read and enjoy them for what they are and for what they can give her.

  2. Mother Picasso

    Another beautiful letter from Gen. Satterfield to his lovely granddaughter.

  3. Eddie Gilliam

    Excellent job my friend. It’s crazy all the horses you could have rode the first time; it was named Rebel. Your military career was a Rebel. You stood up for your troops without fear of what comes next.
    Rebel though it’s have negative things attachments to it. Rebel has s positive side which I stated earlier. Leader not being afraid to stand up for troops who need your support.
    Jesus was a Rebel when he healed the lame man on the Sabbath day. Jesus said man is made for a day not day for a man.
    Jesus helped a lady who was about to be stoned for adultery. He says he that hath no sin case the first stone. No one did because each man had sin. How society treated women for this issue but the man go free. It take two.
    Another thing you address when you fell off the horse, you brush yourself off got back on. You overcome the fear. People in life fall but you don’t have to stay down. REBEL now new you were not afraid of him. Animals have a six sense to detect fear in people.

      1. MrJohn

        I agree. Mr. Gilliam is obviously a man of God and for his country. We need more like him.

  4. Melissa Jackson

    “He was the most gorgeous black stallion I’d ever laid my eyes upon; his breed was a Morgan.” For those who are not familiar with horse breeds, Morgan horses stand out with their intelligence and gentle nature. They boast remarkable conformation, exhibiting both strength and grace. Deeply muscled bodies, straight, sturdy legs, and an inherent elegance define them. The most common colors of Morgans are bay, black, and chestnut. Looks like Gen. Satterfield’s horse was an oddity.

  5. Yusaf from Texas

    Another smashing success with this letter to “my granddaughter,” Gen. Satterfield. Please publish these when you can, and after you have enough of them to be a book about your childhood.

  6. JT Patterson

    Off topic but on yesterday’s article regarding the Three Stooges, “women” from Harvard, MIT, and UPenn, looks like one of them will be forced to resign. Of course, she’ll get a multi-million dollar payment to quietly go away. That is how corruption works. And UPenn is thoroughly corrupt, esp. lacking morals.

    1. Douglas R. Satterfield Post author

      JT, yes, but until we get proof, I’m not putting it out yet. I predict at least one will keep her job. It would be too much trouble to get rid of a diversity hire than someone hired on merit. When you are hired on merit and fail, then it is an easy decision. But when hired because of your race, gender, and sexual proclivity, and you screw up, then hard to fire that person because merit was never a part of the equation.

      1. Greg NH

        Sir, thank you for responding. Good to know you are reading our comments.

  7. Max Foster

    But it was dumb luck that kept me from getting killed that day. The horse Rebel was euthanized a year later after stomping a man to death. He was all black, sleek, very big, and full of life. Rebel was a beautiful creature. I desperately wanted to impress my friends that day; maybe I did. We all talked about my brief ride with my Mom. She said, “Just don’t get yourself killed.” Yep, that’s precisely what any mom would say to her young son wanting to grow up fast. — Gen. Doug Satterfield and spot-on comment about mothers.

      1. Linux Man

        Exactly Scotty. Thanks for the quick note to remind us all of why we come to this leadership forum by Gen. Satterfield. We learn more each time and know that we can use his info anytime, just give attribution.

  8. Nick Lighthouse

    Another great letter to your granddaughter. I hope she enjoys them and gets a chance to read them again when she is an adult. ❤

    1. Bryan Z. Lee

      HEHEHEHEHEHEHEHE .. this forum is becoming a funner place to read. “Funner?” Nope, but more insane might be the better word. 🤦‍♂️ All funny aside, this website has become my go to place for learning how to be a better leader and a good person. 🤷‍♂️ I hope that others are learning as much as I am. Hey Gen. Satterfield, you are doing the job that most of us only wish we could do. We certainly cannot become an Army General, too late for most of us. Hey, sir, keep your letters coming our way and we’ll keep reading. 👌

  9. Raw Hide

    Hi Gen. Satterfield, just here to say hi and thank you for these letters.

    1. Dale Paul Fox

      Can”t wait until the next letter. So many of these are sparking my memories of when I was a little kid.

      1. The Kid

        So true for many of us. But for those who are still very young, I believe it important to try to see what happened to Gen. Satterfield as a little boy and the effect it had on him in later life. Experiences don’t all have to be good. What is important, and I believe it to be the case here, is to learn crucial adult lessons. And to recognize when you are lucky and don’t think you ‘won’ because of your skill, just luck. Like when Gen. s was not killed by that horse.

    2. Frontier Man

      Yep, very nice. Looks like this is going to be Gen. Satterfield’s best and longest running series.


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