Friday, September 18, 2009

I Got My Eye On U

Today is someone's 50th Birthday. I won't say who. But I will say he is pretty darn special. And in honor of his birthday I sat down this morning and wrote him a little story about someone else who is pretty special to this ranch. A silly story really and I am not quite sure about it. But hey, the birthday boy is an easy audience, so I will go ahead and post it.



Charlie Horse came to this ranch when he was 24 years old and 6 months. His previous owner was a 14 year old girl who lived along a wide meandering river with sandy beaches along each side. She loved to take Charlie down to stand in the middle of the river and she would lie on his smooth back and look up at the sky overhead watching for big fluffy clouds to float by. She also liked Charlie to run along the river’s edge. The wind blew Charlie’s mane back and he sometimes thought he was a pony express horse delivering important mail, and other times his rider was Paul Revere informing the colonist’s that the redcoats were coming and sometimes he was a famous race horse winning the Kentucky Derby. Charlie’s life along the river was one of imagination and stories.

Before Charlie was a river horse he lived in a stable and was used for lessons for children. This was important work that Charlie did not take lightly. It was important that he did not stumble or fall with the little ones on his back. He had to pay attention to the young rider’s cues about when to go and when to stop and when to turn left and when to turn right. Sometimes he might be asked to race around some barrels or some poles. Other times he might have to do jumps or maybe even chase around some cows. Charlie’s life at the stable was one of doing a job well, or as well as he could! He took this job seriously and when the day was done he rested well knowing that he had done it.

Before Charlie lived in a stable he was a vaquero rodeo horse. His beautiful reddish brown hair was brushed to a high gleam and his hard black hooves were polished. He wore a fancy saddle with shiny metal and dangling strings, and his bridle sparkled too. He pranced and he danced and he made people and horses alike ooh and aah at his high stepping feet, gracefully arched neck and his thick, beautiful black tail held high and blowing in the wind like a flag. Charlie’s life as a vaquero rodeo horse was one of beauty, grace and speed.

Before Charlie lived as a vaquero rodeo horse he lived in a large pasture with his mother. Days were spent grazing on sweet grass and racing his friends and taking a nap in the warm sun. His mother and his friends taught him that it wasn’t nice to crowd, or bite or kick. She taught him to not be afraid, and to always do his best. She was a good mother and he was a good son. Charlie’s life with his mother was one of learning to be a good and useful horse.

Charlie Horse is now 27 years and 8 months old. That is pretty old for a horse. Ancient really. Over the hill. But don’t tell him that because Charlie is a horse with many stories yet to live and old ones to remember.

Most days now you can find Charlie meandering around the ranch. He never goes too far, but he stays pretty busy. Sometimes we find him in his imagination station where it seems like his mind is far from here. He also has some goat, donkey, and horse friends that come by often to say hi and play and swap tales under the apple trees. On the ranch he is sometimes also asked to be a child’s horse and he has to pay attention and do a job well. Occasionally he is still asked to run like the wind and he arches his neck and holds his tail high and moves with beauty and grace. We all ooh and aah. Sometimes he even gets to chase the cows and he likes it. He wrinkles his nose and lays his ears back and he chuckles to himself when the cows run away from him. No, Charlie is not old yet. Call him semi-retired and definitely call him loved.


  1. oh that captures charlie so well!!! its such a beautiful story!!! i love it!!! :)
    oh...Happy Birthday mark!!!

  2. Have a great day at the ranch, or wherever you happen to get to. Happy Birthday, Mark!
    (great story, Tammy)

  3. 50 -- still a youngster. Great story, TJ.

    Happy Birthday, friend.


  4. I love this story!!!
    and Happy birthday Mark!!!

  5. I read your story about Charlie Horse with a tear in my eye. I loved the pictures that came to mind about his full and giving life. I, too, have an old guy (been with me nearly 19 years). Murphy at 29 can no longer be ridden because of lameness but oh the memories he's left me with. As someone who loves to write horse stories, he has given me so much material over the years. Cherish the moments. Charlie Horse is a very special boy.
    Nan (Nancy Clarke)


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