Riding horses is dangerous. So is operating an automobile. So I’m not saying we shouldn’t engage in either activity, but I’d like to point out that when you are around a horse, virtually anything can happen. I’ve seen good horses in bad wrecks, great riders get broken up, and not-very-cautious riders get away with doing some stupid things around horses and get away with it. What we all should keep in mind is that there is great risk involved in riding horses and training horses, and a smart rider will do what he can to protect himself and his horse.
I’m sitting here after a long day, wondering what to write in this post to sum up the very best parts of my day to share on CowgirlDiary.com, and I’m not coming up with a whole lot of words. I went for a horseback ride this evening with JoAnn. It was a beautiful, windy, fall day…the kind of day that just beckons. I stuffed my old camera in the hip pocket of my jeans and away we went. Basically, it was a super fun ride. And the rest, I’ll just say with pictures….
I love reading about horses, especially horse headlines in the news. No matter how serious the story is, there is almost always some humor in it. Either that, or it’s a heartwarming story, like the woman who stayed with her horse that was stuck in the quicksand along an Australian beach, until both were rescued after 3 hours. Here are some of the most recent horse headlines I’ve read.
If you’re looking for me these days, I’m probably out riding. The weather is unbelievably sweet, the horses are nothing short of amiable, and horseback riding is my number one favorite thing to do in the whole world, so I’m livin’ it up. I’ve been averaging a trail ride a week for the past month, and am loving it so much! I have two great people to give all the credit to.
My horse friend and I went riding again this week, this time to some new equestrian trails that are being developed five miles northeast of Shenandoah, Iowa. The Pierce Creek Recreation Area is a beautifully serene park with ten miles of well-developed trails for horseback riding. Some of the local riders have done a lot of work at the park to make it more horse friendly, and we chose a beautiful evening for a ride.
We did it! My new horse friend and I went trail riding. It might be difficult for the casual reader to understand my exuberance. But I so seldom get to ride, especially not on actual trails in a new place, nor with a new-found fellow horse enthusiast, so I’m thrilled. My husband agreed to watch the kids, including the seven month old baby who is not used to being away from mama for any amount of time…so I went!
I told a customer at work yesterday that I have “Horse Radar”. He looked at me funny…and I explained that I had seen his wife out trail riding the other day along a road, and wondered if he was riding with her. He said, “No, that was her daughter and a friend. Why?” I said, “Oh, I was just jealous, and told my husband—see? That’s what we should be doing today!” He said, “You have horses?” I said, “Yes, but I don’t get out to ride much.” He said, “Well, you should talk to my wife, she’s always looking for somebody to go riding with.” Phone numbers were exchanged, Facebook friend requests sent, and now his wife and I are planning to go ride at some trails as soon as we can!
In June we traveled out to Idaho to visit my folks. It’s been almost a year since we’ve seen them, as we didn’t make it out there for Christmas. So we were really looking forward to the making the trip, getting some fresh mountain air, spending time with family, and going on some adventures.
When I was a teenager, this time of year was so exciting. School was ended and we were free to ride horses all day, which was pretty much all that was on my agenda. While Dad finished up the spring planting, we kids would be putting cattle out to pasture and checking on the late-calvers daily. There was so much to do on horseback!
Walking through water can be one of the hardest things for a horse to accept, and his fear is often based on his past experiences. If he’s never seen it before, or if he’s been forced into it or struggled with by a rider over crossing water, then it’s going to be a big obstacle for him to overcome. No matter how much horse experience you have, when you’re working to overcome something like this you have to have a lot of patience and be willing to spend the time it takes to help the horse get past his fear of crossing water.
I’ve been mulling a bit lately, over the horse ownership thing again. I’ve mentioned before that I feel guilty about owning horses and not spending much time with them, aside from feeding time. I confess that it’s been about three months since I’ve ridden….in fact, I can’t even remember the ride at all, or when it was. I have a pretty good excuse for not riding any broncs, though….I’m pregnant with our third child.
Most of us horse lovers have been inspired by horses and riders in the movies at one point or another. Whether it was growing up watching Bonanza or seeing Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken for the first time, those horses and the people who rode them made a big impact on us and deepened our interest in becoming a rider or owning our own horse someday. There are just a few things that have crossed my mind when watching some of the Hollywood-style riding, and wanted to comment for the benefit of the total beginning horse enthusiast.
Last weekend we took our cows out west where I grew up. From here, it’s a four hour ride in a car…a six hour ride for a cattle pot and truck and trailer with seven people packed into the crew cab. Saturday was one long hectic day. But it was one of the best weekends I’ve had in a long time, because to me it meant going home.
I am a writer, and one of my favorite things to do is to tell a good story. I have often said that getting a horse is like getting a brand new notebook. You open it up, and it’s blank….just waiting to be filled in with adventures, experiences, knowledge, sentiment, good memories, colorful adjectives, and whatever else comes your way. So it is when you get a horse….I went for a ride with Cowboy Dad yesterday. We had talked about trailering out to some trails or something, since we had a whole afternoon and warm sunny weather.
Today was amazing. Well, if you don’t count the fact that it’s the beginning of January and still a little cold for my taste. And if you don’t mention that today was my husband’s first time to get bucked off a horse. It was sunny with no wind, a Sunday afternoon, and he said we’re crazy if we don’t go for a horse ride today. So we did. Here’s how it went:
Snow is coming! The kids are excited with the prospects of sipping hot cocoa, listening to Christmas music, and watching the heavens swirl their magical crystals into sparkling drifts over our front steps. I’m not looking forward to doing chores in subzero temperatures, no matter how pretty the snow is. When the water tanks freeze over and I can’t peel the layers of frost-covered hay off of my big round bales to feed my horses, winter isn’t fun anymore. If only we could enjoy the snow without it being so cold…..
It’s that time of year when people like to ponder the good things that have come their way. I see the trend of daily status updates on Facebook, where everyone is counting a blessing along with each day of November, and while it is inspiring to read their grateful comments, I haven’t joined in the fad yet. I have looked at the blank where I’m supposed to type my comment, and ten minutes later I’m still sitting there, overwhelmed with my thoughts….the blank just isn’t big enough. I have so much to be thankful for.
A horse buddy of mine asked the question on Facebook the other day, “What do you do about barn hands?” She wasn’t referring to people you hire to help out around a stable, but rather the calloused and dried out things on the ends of your arms. All of the horse people chimed in with their remedies for this problem, and it was easy to see that if you have horses in your life, your hands will tell the story. Mine are cracked, calloused, dry, and sometimes even dirty….it just comes with the territory of being around horses.