Posts tagged ‘horses’
“We were, wanna be rebel’s who didn’t have a clue…
in our rockin’ roll t-shirts and our ty-pi-cal bad attitudes.”
That was my best friend and I! There was one summer when we were sixteen, we had way too much fun. For us girls it was long horseback rides wearing shorts and moccasins riding home in the dark. It was that time at dusk a coyote stalked us for over half an hour. It was running our horses with the elk in the vast Idaho woods around her house. It was skinny dipping in the lake or better yet jumping in fully clothed and then getting the worlds worst saddle sores riding home wet! She got hurt so much that year her parents dubbed their place “Kicking Horse Ranch” in honor of our antics. Guess I shouldn’t wonder where my kids get it! This was one of those kicking horse stories.
It was spring breakup, the time the loggers have to find other things to do because the ground is so soft and muddy. It’s a great time for riding horseback and we hadn’t been out in ages. Forgetting all inhabitions we bridled the horses in the field and took off down the mountain. We were so anxious we didn’t bother to follow the proper steps; halter, brush, tack, bridle then go. I gave her a leg up onto her dun mare and then, while she held my horse I backed up far enough to get a few good steps running and lept onto my appaloosa hooking my left arm over her tall wither, then shimmyed myself up onto her back. It was slow and not at all graceful. Later into the summer we could swing on bareback with ease but it was spring and our riding muscles were weak so we scrambled up any ol’ way we could manage.
Away we went.
Our girls, Kyanne and Shadow were smoked, heads held high, ears perked and prancing up the logging trail as we giggled and sang in our best Reba accent,
“I remember it ah-all very weh-ell, lookin’ back it was the summer I turned eighteen. We li-ived in a one room, run down shack on the outskirts of New-ooo Orleans.”
She picked up the pace and I followed then gave her a mischievious look, nodded and leaned forward to indicate I wanted to race. Without a word she slapped her mare gently on the rump taking her from a trot to a run. Shadow picked up her feet faster and faster galloping ahead to meet my challenge.
The trees whipped by like dark fence rails… one, two, three. Faster and faster we went. Now five rails at a time, now ten. We were flying!
Bareback at a full gallop our seats no longer touched the horses. We knew we needed to slow down because up ahead the road would switch back and start up the steep mountain. Out of breath I tried to rein in my horse. Fighting for balance and leverage I bumped on Kyanne’s back.
Bump, yank, bump, yank.
I hated to yank on her but she wasn’t responding. She was usually so good but her instinct was too strong. I could not get her to stop!
My friend was a good couple yards ahead of us not having any more luck with her horse Shadow.
“I can’t STOP!” she hollered into the wind!
The hairpin turn was fast approaching. The trees were still flashing past by the dozen. Up ahead the road had washed out from a stream caused by melting snow. Shale had collapsed down the steep shoulder into our path.
I watched helplessly as Shadow slowed and kicked up her heels to attempt to strike my horse and maintain her lead. My friend swung herself off the side, still hanging onto the reins and was dragged face first into the mud in front of me.
I was pulling with all my might but desperately trying not to fall off when my horse lurched to the right and up the steep incline of shale and falling rock. We scrambled and slid down toward the heap that was my best friend.
Forgetting the reins, I wrapped my arms around Kyanne’s neck and squeezed my eyes shut letting out a weak scream as my little Indian horse pushed off from the bank and lept over my huddled friend.
It took less than two seconds but it felt like an eternity. I peeked through one eye as we sailed over the top of her and then squeezed both eyes shut again to brace for the landing.
She landed and stopped.
Still wrapped around her neck I slowly let out a stifled breath, “whoa.”
I quickly dismounted and made a feeble attempt to catch Shadow who was undisturbed by the events and happily eating grass. She took one look at me and bolted for home.
My best friends head was bleeding, I had noticed it the minute I opened my eyes but she insisted I catch her horse. Not wanting to alarm her I followed her directions until the horse took off then turned back to her, purposely defeated.
She put her hand to her head and brought it down in front of her face covered in blood. “I’m bleeding!”
I responded in a calm monotone, “I know.” I was not calm but had to think clearly, this was no time to panic.
The blood trickled all the way down to the bottom of her long blond hair and began to pool on the ground behind her but she was alert and sitting up so I was optimistic. We were a good couple miles from home and left with only one horse.
I asked if she thought she could stand up while secretly trying to see if her eyes were dilated. My dad, being an EMT and firefighter by trade was a safety nazi and prepared me constantly for emergency situations and concussions. To my recolection I had never had to use my “expertise”. Yet!
I had an extra shirt so I used it to provide pressure on the cut and attempt to stop the bleeding. Slowly she clamored to her feet and I let her lean on my horse. We began the long walk back.
“Well, you won!” I teased.
“Very funny Jess.” she grumbled and rolled her eyes holding the wadded up shirt awkwardly atop her head.
When Shadow arrived home without a rider my friend’s brother was sent down on his motorcycle to see if we needed help. He roared up and skidded to a stop, took one look at his sister and went into panic mode!
“Get on I’ll take you home!”
Yeah right, she will be real safe on your dirt bike as you race her back up the hill in a frenzied panic!? I worried silently.
My friend was quick to think, “I’m okay, just go get the farm truck” she instructed.
He started his cycle back up, revved the engine a couple times, did a donut in the gravel and raced back up the mountain spitting rocks at us as he retreated.
“Hrmph,” I snorted, “I hope he makes it back safely!”
Once again we were left in silence. We sat down in the grass beside the road and stared into the blue sky. Why do these things always happen to us? I sighed heavily and knelt to peel back the shirt just enough to see if the bleeding was beginning to slow. It looked good to me but what did I know.
Once the pickup returned I mounted Kyanne and rode the rest of the way home in silence. I knew my friend would be okay but it could have been much worse! I trembled a little as the adrenaline left my body and praised God for His hand in the situation….
Thank you Lord for protecting us even in our stupidity!
Her mom and I washed the wound and joked about whether or not we could tape her sliced scalp back together. She felt no real pain, just a dull headache and had no signs of concussion. Still we decided she had better go to the ER and have it checked out. I don’t remember exactly how many stitches she got but I do remember sitting there begging the doc not to cut her beautiful hair!
It was the horseback ride from_____ well, lets just say it was an adventure.
Thing 1 begs me every day to take him riding so this time I said yes. We have a little pinto mare whom he calls “his horse” that has an arthritic knee (from an injury) and can’t go anywhere too fast so he is pretty safe on her.
We waited for Matt to come home, shoveled down a quick dinner and piled out the door hoping to sneak out before the Bubba could see what was happening.
Thing 2 didn’t want to get left behind so I doubled him on my “Mountain Mare” and we headed down the trail.
We went along fine for a while but 5 year old Thing 2 is not the most natural of horsemen and when my horse jolted forward unexpectedly I suddenly had his feet up under my armpits. Instead of bringing her to an immediate stop all I could think was to grab for him behind my back, hoping to catch a clump of his shirt. He was howling and wailing while she loped ahead and he bounced around on her rump while I tried desperately to keep us both atop!
We made it through that one and it wasn’t long before the howls of surprise subsided. The 5 year old can get quite emotional over anything unexpected.
Meanwhile Thing 1 was plunking along on his little mare when we came to a large tree in the trail. She could not lift her bad knee high enough to clear the obstacle so with a crash and a bump she ended up high centered over the thing. In another instant and a horrendous struggle she made it over completely, fell to her knees and then stumbled back up to her feet. I have no idea how Thing 1 managed to ride it out with out a peep. Poor girl banged up her sore knee.
We finally made it out of the woods about 3 miles down a fairly steep grade to meet back up with the road below. My horse decided that she was bored and started eyeing everything with suspicion.
We rode about a half mile on the road where a garbage can tried to eat Mountain Mare, then my neighbors fluffy dog; a bunch of cows, a rabbit in the weeds, a bicyclist and a motorcyclist then a kind neighbor who stopped in his pickup truck to let us pass. He said hello in a voice so deep and smoothly rich that it startled me as well! Thing 2 told me later in a high pitched squeak “I hope I sound like that man when I grow up!”
I could not get my horse to settle down and I worried about another jolting ride for Thing 2 so I hopped off and led us back up the road to the trail head where I figured we would be safe from horse eating monsters.
We settled in again Mountain Mare and I in the lead with wiry haired Thing 2 clinging to my waist and Thing 1 surprisingly quiet (for once) following behind on his poky girl.
Not 100 feet into the woods we came to a fence and the cutest little gray donkey that had to stand less than 30″ high and was certainly that wide! But Oh *^$&*+ I am sure I heard my horseswear as her head snapped around to get a better look and we both saw him squeeze that fat belly right between the gate and a big black railroad tie it was chained to.
In an aggressive move I didn’t expect from such a cute little booger he bolted up to Thing 1’s horse, reared up and snorted in her face.
“Don’t let them sniff,” I scolded him then tried to urge my horse ahead to keep the mares moving farther away from the crazy donkey. My son’s mare stood frozen in fear while I am certain by the look in her eye, my mare continued to think up unkind words to describe the angry gray monster.
We got a little ahead and the donkey left Thing 1’s mare to gallop past my horse and attempt to kick her in the knee with both hooves flying. “Hang on TIGHT!” I hollered at Thing 2 who had practically climbed into the saddle with me, arms and legs wrapped around my waist, head pressed into my back, this time no howls.
When the little guy came galloping back through the brush and the trees Thing 1’s horse decided she’d had enough. She rammed into the back of us then jetted around my horse and ran as fast as her little legs could take her with the mini chasing from behind.
“Hang on! Hang on TIGHT!” I yelled, still trying to cling to my double rider with one arm and steer my horse up the rocky trail with the other.
Suddenly the donkey turned back but our horses were not convinced, I allowed my mare to lope in order to keep up with my oldest and his runaway pony. He was hanging on like nobody’s business but had lost his stirrups so legs and boots where flying and flopping, at first on either side of the horse and then slowly he leaned…
and I watched, as if in slow motion, as he bounced until off the side he went.
I was a little too close to the accidental dismount on a very narrow trail so my horse had to jump in order to avoid stomping his feet or a leg.
In just twenty feet or so the riderless horse stopped and behind me the horseless rider got up, groaned a little then started hiking. I wasn’t sure if he was mad or personally offended but he wasn’t seriously hurt, thank the Lord.
I had to hike the three miles home up the steep trial dragging two horses while Thing 1 limped along, only his pride hurt but his horse too banged up to ride.
Back at home the boys told Dad we had an adventure and when Thing 1 retold the story he claimed he “was born to fall off!”
All because of a horse eating mini donkey.
I mentioned in another post about a story I had told. I decided I’d better get my kicks and share it here too and hopefully in less that half an hour, for your sake! 🙂
A couple months ago the big boys and I were at a friends birthday party and I got to talk horses with their grandpa. He told me through teary eyes that his health was failing and despite his love for horses, haying and helping out his grandkids, he was going to have to neglect his hobby farming and move out of state for the summer to undergo cancer treatments. I was horrified since I had brought up a subject that he was obviously frightened about. I mentinoned it to my friend, his daughter-in-law and we had a nice conversation about it. I told her I’d pray for their family and she began to tell me about her plight with the horses that had been his and she was now in care of.
To make a very long story somewhat shorter… she was having difficulty caring for and keeping weight on them and asked if Iwould like to have one.
I of course was extatic. I’ve got three horses of my own but it’s a strange motley crew. One 16+ hand draft horse (tall and WIDE) a short mare (Mountain Mare) I’ve had since she was a baby and an even shorter pony/mare for my kids. None of them are well suited to your average, everyday, friendly guest who might want to have a tour of our local mountians. I love taking people for rides so I was excited about the chance to have a regular sized horse.
I told her I would “work on” talking to my husband about it and she should keep me informed on how things were going.
Over the next couple of months I worked hard at trying to figure out a way to reduce our horse expenses so that I could justify feeding another large mouth, to my husband! Also over the next couple of months my husbands job became less and less stable seeming and a raise became a dream of the past.
Sooo, my friend called again this week to ask if she could bring the horse over for me, complete with hay and a round pen.
I asked Matt, thinking that after the conclusion of the pig incident I had this one in the bag! Not really, my husband is not a push over and I am not a horrible manipulator. I’m sure on occasion I’ve used my womanly charms to get my way but let me tell you I’m not proud of those moments and they usually come back to bite me. We do, both want what is best for our family so it serves us well when we hear eachother out and submit to God’s authority on matters.
This time Matt wisely said “No!” Not in those words but still the answer was no and I had no rebuttal because I knew he was right. We really could (can) not afford another horse! I was crushed. I had really hoped I could make it work.
I hate it when my husband is right!
I reluctantly called my friend back and broke the news to her. She understood but still tried to “sweeten” the deal with more hay and the use of a horse trailer they would no longer be needing.
Just before hanging up the phone I remembered something Matt had said, “I have no problem having another horse at the house it’s just not a wise money decision.” He had even told me I should ask her to board the horse at our place so we could ride together. I offered this option to her and through a series of details and more phone calls her and her husband decided to give it a try.
The next day Sunny showed up at my house looking like this…
I had no idea she had fared so badly. She is quite old, mind you (great for the kids) but her health and weight are far beyond what I had realized when we first talked. Upon her arrival I tried to hide my shock. Since my friend is aware of the problem and is now trying to do something about it there was no reason to rub it in and embarrass her but WOW! This poor mare will have a long road to health and an expensive journey at that. Thank the Lord and thank my Hubby she is not our financial burden. It will be a blessing to be a part of helping nurse her back to fat and happy and help my friend learn how to avoid this in the future!
I love it when my husband is right!
I though you might enjoy a horseback ride today so come away with me to the Idaho mountains… I hope you enjoy the tour.
Now who will I take?
Look for the “knob” on the mountain between the big guy’s hocks (back knees), that’s our destination today!
We need a strong fast mount.
Meet the horse my friends dubbed “Mountain Mare”…
Up, up, up the mountain we go.
This is the view part of the way up the mountain.
Here we are just before we “lost” our riding partners who were not interested in “boonie-bashing” as we call it. Hiking up deer trails without hesitation is how my mare got her nickname!
Now where is that big rocky knob?
Come on dogs!
I think we’re getting close
There it is!
Too bad horses can’t climb rocks, we won’t be standing up there today.
That’s okay, the view from here is awesome!
Ready for the long ride down?
The sun is getting high and I’m getting hungry!
Thanks for riding with Mountian Mare and I
were glad you came along!
I am participating in 5 min. for Mom’s Ultimate Blog Party with prized and fun for all. Visit the link on my sidebar to enter for free. To kick things off I thought we would have a good ol’ fashion egging! Occasionally I come up with some brilliant recipes to share but most of the time I’m just a busy mom of four trying to survive.
My Blog Schmog was inspired by my 7 and 5yr old boys and their antics. Affectionately I call them Thing 1 and Thing 2 (from Cat in the Hat).
I’m Jessie and I’m the Goof, I like all things farm and old fashioned and a few things modern and convenient-like parties on the Internet where Mom’s can meet and support one another.
One day I tried to sum up my hobbies into a single word and Farm is all I could come up with. I like so many things; family, animals, crafting, baking, teaching, gardening, singing, drawing, building, researching, horseback riding, strange pets, hiking, motorcycling, traveling, playing blocks with my three boys and rocking with my baby girl. Since I can’t narrow it down you might find adventures from many different angles here, but one things for sure, I’ve got my game face on and I’m “here for the party”!
I’m really on an egg kick lately. I’m sure a big part of that is because it’s been our first sign up here at the farm that spring is indeed coming, though old man winter is hanging on for dear life giving us a majestic thunderstorm the other night followed by a day and a half of snow. Today though, it is sunny and brisk again and the Girls (chickens) are back to work clucking happily and laying eggs.
Along with a hard winter we have had a difficult flu season. With six of us in the house a single illness can last nearly a month then when one of the kids brings home a second we are out for a whole season is seems. This has been discouraging as I’m sure many of you experience. This last bout of colds put the littlest in the ER with RSV, thankfully she is fast recovering but it got me thinking about nutrition again. I’m admittedly not the best chef, and I don’t claim to eat very healthy but I’m aware of it and try my best. I tend to go in waves!
Eggs are rich in vitamins and minerals as well as being one of the few foods containing an essential vitamin D. This is especially important to those of us living in areas where winter does not go quietly into the night. We need our sunlight, we need our Vit. D! We also need a great deal of chocolate to “take the edge off”! But that’s a different story.
For my contribution to this fabulous party you may now consider yourself egged. Enjoy surfing and come back soon to see what’s happens next here at the anti-blog (because they-you know who they are- coerced me to write)Blog Schmog by Jessie
p.s. Don’t forget the free giveaways! It’s hard to choose but my top picks are a pair of shoes for my Pee Wee from See Kai Run or books from Bilingual Fun. I also like USC 13, 118, 123, 78, 65, 72, 80! There are too many to choose from!
It occurred to me this morning as I trudged through the mud and the snow to throw hay (deliriously expensive dry blades of grass in a big heavy block) to my three horses, that I really need to dig deeper into the basics of life. I love my horses and whenever my husband and I begin to have that talk about budget I always find a way to “justify” keeping them. Lately it’s more about the inability to sell them to some other poor soul who can’t afford thosebig heavy blocks of grass called hay, than it is unwillingness. I don’t want to put my family in jeopardy for a hobby no matter how dear the horses are to me.
I tossed them their hay and feeling a bit chilled I climbed onto Oliver’s neck (my big black “tractor” of a draft horse) letting him lift me onto his back then I turned around and lay sprawled out on his wide back to keep warm and to think. What a dilemma it is feeding a family let alone the animals we need and love. Horses, as you probably know, are one of the least productive animals on most US family farms. We don’t eat them, we rarely reproduce them and if you make money with them it is by running them silly till they make lots of money for you, or showing them in the big circuits while you spend lots of money on them.
Oliver’s thick neck twitched as he munched and my mind continued to re-play my years of owning and caring for these friendly beasts. My thoughts came one after the other none of them staying long enough to dwell on but all of them leaving an impression:
Horses… hay…the economy… sweat… mud…$$ dilemma… a harness… a chicken coop on wooden runners I saw in a book…hens…farm eggs…$$-in the black or in the red… HEY!!! I’ve got it!
Oliver IS a tractor. While listening to his breathing, steady, strong, faithful I realized, “this has potential, he already knows how to pull, I already know how to drive I can put most anything on runners and he can work too.” I’ve got plowing to do, leveling, ditching, firewood to move, rocks to move, I’m going to get back to the basics and scratch “tractor” off the list of things we are saving $$ for.
Speaking of basics, my next attempt at the gluten free sourdough is about to go into the oven, stay tuned for results and hopefully I can post a successful recipe!