For this first episode of Barn Stories, we’ve chosen a True Tale from our archives. True Tales are reader-submitted, true-life horse stories and we’ve published them since our very first issue in 1977. This particular True Tale, written by Julia Dake, is the story of a young woman and a difficult horse. Or what seems to be a difficult horse. Smoke isn’t a mean or unruly horse but he just isn’t inclined to be cooperative and Julia finally has to give up. But eventually Julia comes to a realization about where the problem lies—and it’s not with Smoke.

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