Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Horse Crazy

I remember that barefoot summer day that a teenager invited me aboard her horse for a short bareback ride. I sat in front of her mesmerized as she taught me how to use the reins, my voice and legs to communicate with the soft yet strong animal beneath me. I still remember the girl's name, Loretta, although that one ride was the only time we connected. I doubt if she realized what a huge and life transforming impact her kindness that day did to this snotty nosed brat.

After that experience began the daily question of, "Can I have a horse?" My father hated to tell me no, so my dad's usual answer was always 'ole Mr. Will C. But 'will see' gave hope and so every night I said my prayers and asked God to give me a horse. Not the most humble of prayers I realize now!

A year or so later, a friend of my dad's came by selling tickets for a raffle the local rodeo was having. So I asked my dad," if you win would you buy me a horse?" I still remember his slow smile as he sat at the kitchen table with his friend sharing ice cold mugs of beer. "Sure honey, if I win I will get you a horse. But if I don't I want you to stop asking me." I agreed to his terms and my nightly prayers increased in fervor. And don't you know, he won!

The next week, the paper had an ad for a horse in the exact amount of his winnings, so he went and got it for me. And that was the beginning of my horse craziness. I sometimes think I need one of those shirts that say, "just one horse away from being the crazy horse lady!"

I love all the equines we have on the ranch. They might not be fancy but they're family. Here is Burrita the donkey, aka mama, her little man Macho, aka Racing Stripes, who always runs up to your vehicle and begs for treats. Most of time this is what you will see. Then there is the newcomer,young Ms. Rylee who our farrier says is sweetest mule he ever met. Tono, is a boarder and belongs to our friend Casey. He is a real cuddler and he always calls out to me when I start down to the barn; he is the kind of horse who wants to eat out of your back pocket. Stormy is probably the best trained horse we have. She can spin, side pass and back fairly quickly, do flying lead changes, chase down a cow and is still safe for most kids to ride. You just don't want to let her get in a revved up mode. Lately Casey's cousin Ricki has been riding her regularly and they are becoming quite a team. Eric's horse, Shy-Anne, lives up to her name as she is a sensitive and responsive girl. She is also very athletic on these hills. I can never forget old Charlie. Our 26 year old Arabian who is still going strong and has found a new friend, Kris, to add to his long list of admirers. Honestly, Charlie even gets fan mail! And finally there is my personal mount Mustang Buddy Boo. He can be misunderstood, and he is suspicious of strangers, but for me he's the best. My buddy.

Horses turned out to be a good thing for me. My horse kept me busy while other kids were often getting into trouble. My horse listened to my tears of adolescence and seemed to know just when to nuzzle me or offer an encouraging nicker. He taught me responsibility and how to have wholesome adrenaline charged fun! Today, I tend to ride a bit slower than I did in my youth and I have found that an easy ride along a trail is more my speed. I also really like sharing the love that horses can give with others. There is just something about an animal so big, powerful and strong responding to the needs and requests of someone so much weaker that always gives my heart a stir. Kind of makes me think of God bowing down to answer my prayer so long ago and still today.

14 comments:

  1. oh my, it is just gorgeous there! i think tug and i (and the kids) need to take a trip down south!
    r

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  2. oh i give up. are you still doing the 'obvious' misspelling cuz i sure cant find it...havent found any actually.
    i's not to smart
    r

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  3. Actually Regina, the game was just a cover-up/joke for my naughty language! And come on down. You better come today, because after the heat of last week and the wind of today all of our green grass and flowers are going to be brown.

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  4. Beautiful story, TJ and great pictures of your animals.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Dan

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  5. Hi Ya TJ!
    Thanks for stopping in at my blog, and also for the great information on the salt. ;) Solved a mystery for me that has been there for over 10 years now...

    I have really enjoyed my first visit here at your blog, and plan to be back!

    Loved to story of your first horse- isnt it amazing how things work out like that? And now look at ya... BTW--- Your long ears are beautiful. I have a *thing* for long ears in a big way, and miss being around them. Hope to see lots more pics of them, so I can get a vicarious fix now and again!

    See you soon!

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  6. I love long ears too and will soon be posting the first part of a children's story about Burrita, our BLM Burro. Look forward to 'seeing' more of you. :-)

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  7. oh, gotcha, though I think you should continue your game. i thought the original mistake was starting your post with a comma, guess i should have continued on.
    keep up the mistakes, they are dam funny.
    r

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  8. Thanks for sharing the pics and stories of your donkeys, horses, and mules. They are very nice! Like you, horses definitely kept me out of trouble as a kid. And these days, I also tend to ride a bit slower these and prefer the trails! ;)

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  9. I just love your horses and mules! They are all so beautiful. "Mamma" is so cute! I love her dark color! I think I would ride the 26 year old. I too have come to love just going slow and relaxing! I do not have that need for speed! You have a beautiful place there! Love all your pictures!!

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  10. I feel like I know them all! The first picture of BUrrita is absolutey stunning!

    Hey, I was also thinking about putting up installments of a childrens book on my blog. I was kinda figuring that might be the only way I actually start to write it. (I need to be held accountable.) Mine is about Domino, a paint horse, who moves to the ranch. THere are lots of ranch type animals involved. That's probably as much as you'll ever get from me. love ya :)

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  11. I just wanted to add how much I love your ranch! I think if I lived there, I'd never stop taking pictures!!! It looks like there is beauty around every corner! michelle

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  12. You know it is true Michelle, it is beautiful, but I catch myself taking the scenery for granted and sometimes wonderful people too. Your comment reminds me once again to 'stop and smell the roses'.

    Look forward to reading your children's story. I will post the first part of mine in June sometime. It is about Burrito getting a new home, and the story is for Brandon, Mikey, and Emma (remember their post?) )as they are moving during the summer.

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  13. Maybe I'll follow through. Probably not, but maybe. I'm the kind of person who needs a deadline. I worry I'll never get my children's book written!!!

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