Riding Life!

Riding Life!
Life is like a wild horse--Unless you ride it, it will ride you! (from the movie: "Princess of Thieves.")

Sunday, January 17, 2010

C: Horse Sense??

Horses were always a big part of my life. I gave my last three away just months ago, finding that as a single (somewhat depressed) person, keeping horses was more than I can do right now. But, still, they're in my blood. I know a lot about them and, as you can see, some of it is learning by experience!!

A little while ago Four Miles North of Nowhere made a little mention of ordering up a harmonica. It set me thinking about the one and only time I decided to learn to play. I am musically-challenged in all areas, but thought I might could manage a harmonica. We ran a boarding stable to defray the expense of our horse hobby, and we had quite a little cadre of trail riders. We’d meet at 5 a.m. on Spring and Summer Saturday mornings and ride the trails a couple of hours, adjourning for a late Waffle House breakfast. Those were the days!!

Anyway, I thought I’d just add a little Western atmosphere to our rides by playing “Happy Trails” and other cowboy tunes as we ambled along the trails. I secretly practiced and practiced till I had a repertoire of about three appropriate tunes, smug in my thoughts at how impressed my fellow equestrians would be at my talent.

On the day of the ride, we all saddled up and were twenty minutes or so into our ride, traveling at a leisurely pace. At the time I was riding my Appaloosa gelding, “Domino,” who was not known for a level head. I pulled out my harmonica, thinking only of my surprise to my group and concentrating on getting my blowing just right. You can imagine how I felt when at the first “toot” of the harmonica, Ol’ Domino must have thought the sky was falling because he bolted like a bat out of you-know-where. Of course, the other horses did about the same thing…it was a sheer wonder and a testament to our good horsemanship that no one was unseated! But I felt like a complete idiot. I have been around horses all my life, and I know that the unexpected is frightening to a horse. I had not taken the time to break them in to the strange sound of the harmonica.

We were shaken up badly that day, and I stuffed my musical instrument back into my pocket. I was eventually able to play on the trail, but only after I had properly introduced the horses to the sound by playing it for them in the barn…as I should have in the first place!

And thinking of this near miss reminded me of a horse story from my elementary days. It is an experience that should have taught me enough to avoid the harmonica situation to begin with.

One of our favorite television programs back then was “Bonanza.” Remember that famous western family of men? I can still remember each horse in the cast! I was fascinated in one episode where Little Joe used his beautiful paint to pull a log out of the way. “Why, I bet Ginger could do that!” I thought.

The next day I saddled Ginger up, taking a long rope with me. I rode down to the end of our pasture near our pond, where I knew a fallen log was lying. I hitched one end of the rope to the saddle horn and the other to the log. I pulled on Ginger’s bridle, urging her to move forward. As she did, sure enough, the log came too, and Ginger, being no fool, knew that it was just not right that a log could move. She did what any self-respecting survivalist herd animal would do: She lit out like a streak of lightning, leaving me standing there watching her and the log race back and forth in zig-zags across the pasture. Poor Ginger! The faster she ran, the faster that killer log came at her. Again, it is a wonder that either the horse was not hurt or I was not run down. She finally stopped, trembling, giving up and thinking (I’m sure) that the log would pounce on her at any moment.
I was, naturally, terrified. I don’t think I even told my parents what had happened.

Anyway, thank you, KATH for spurring these memories of my good times and my foolishness with my horses. It’s kinda a wonder I ever lived to grow up!


T said...

What great stories and memories!

I too grew up with horses and I think we forget just how powerful they are.

Once while out riding I dropped a reign. I KNEW I should get down, get the reign and get back up. But did I - nope. I just decided to lean over her neck, forgetting she was trained to move forward at that signal. This led her to brush up agains some thorns and then the back of her head met my check bone. Yep - I ended up with a cracked cheek bone for my laziness!

But know what - I still love to ride and be around horses - it's in my blood!

Vee said...

Yikes! It's amazing that any of us survive childhood, but it's really amazing that you did. Glad that you're still here.

Anonymous said...

I love horses too. Our son raises quarter horses. That is his dream come true. I fell off mine years ago and haven,t road since. Fractured my tailbone. q

joolzmac said...

Great story C! I loved Bonanza expecially Little Joe and Hoss in that great big ol' hat! Ah, the memories! Lol!

Cheers - Joolz

Faith said...

Ah, I love horses. Wish I had the time, energy, and money it takes to do something with them. I've got to sell these two that we've got.

But some of the sweetest memories I have of my young girlhood were connected to horses. All children should have a horse. It should be a law. :o)

I read your profile bio, and yes, you two have been through it as well. What a blessing to have a dear friend to share your burdens. I don't know what I would do without friends. They give my day to day life the joy it requires to persevere through the hard times.

WoooHoooo! Bonanza. Little Joe was so cute. The comedy episodes were always my favorite. LOL


kath001 said...

Those uh-ohs that turn out okay in the end make the best stories! So glad all turned out well!

Protege said...

Great stories.;) I too am a horse lover and have posted about horses numerous times; even though I no longer ride, I still love to paint them.;)

willow said...

I love this horsey memory!

Melissa said...

You are a woman made up of adventure and a zest for life.

I loved reading about your memories.

May you live to be 120 and have many more adventures to share.

Eggs In My Pocket / Yesteryear Embroideries said...

Oh, how your stories made me laugh! I just loved it. So glad you and the others and the horses were not hurt! Enjoyed reading. blessings,Kathleen

KathyB. said...

Yikes! I do not ride, but our youngest son is a horse trainer and farrier and I do recall several incidents he and his horses had that added more gray hair for my hair stylist to cover up.I wonder how many more incidents i do NOT know about. You are right, it is amazing nothing more serious happened to you or the horses, and after the fact this is a good and funny story!Do you still play the harmonica?

Janean said...

Wow! Who knew a harmonica would spook a horse, but now we ALL know! Aww....hugs for giving your horses to another good home.

Lindy said...

V, thanks for coming to visit me. Sorry to hear of your beloved doggie, too. I will return to read about your adventures. I would so love to have a friend of 50 years! What a blessing and a treasure!

Laura said...

Love the posts!! But I have to comment on the wood guy, I was shocked to see the poll results.
I guess since I live kind of out in the country in a very rural area I am pretty used to dealing with this type. I have a feeling you were the best bite his business has had in a while and he was anxious if not desparate to make a delivery to you. Yep, no social boundaries but the kind of guy who probably is a jack of all trades that once you get to know is a a valuable commodity.

I could be wrong, really wrong but I have learned to appreciate good old salt of the earth types. As a newly single woman I have found a few of those that have saved my butt more than once. Just yesterday my horse farrier who is a good old country boy saw that my bumper was hanging half way off (I hit a tree stump) pulled a handful of zip ties out of his truck and rigged it up so it was not embarrassinly hanging off till I can get it fixed. Thank goodness for good old boys!!

Anne Marie said...

good advice........

and very nice to meet you.

Noni at The Brick Street Bungalow said...

LOL! C: Those stories definitely bring back some memories of days and adventures gone by. LOL! I, too, loved to attempt to replicate adventures from Flicka, Gene Autry, Roy Rogers, Bonanza, and then The Virginian. LOL. Most were highly unsuccessful... and, don't forget about crossing a creek... if they start pawing, you better get 'em movin'! Please let V know I appreciate her kind comments on the loss of my friend. Happy Trails (I still like that even though I don't ride anymore.)

Jody Blue said...

Good stories. I miss living around horses. When we are out and about and spot horses in a pasture its the know rule to stop so I can have a look.

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