My first memory of being on horseback is probably about 3 years old. We had an old horse--Bud--who was the BEST HORSE EVER. He let anyone ride him, was never temperamental, did exactly what he was supposed to do and was a great cowhorse to boot. Well, I guess he was. I was a kid--anything that helped round up the doggies and didn't try to dump you on the ground was a great cowhorse!It was in the springtime.....well, maybe, but I think I definitely remember the freshness of damp earth and the tiny buds of green on the trees and baby calves frolicking about the pasture gate...
Um, sorry, I got carried away in the descriptive writing. Back to me and Bud. My dad put me up on his back--bareback, no bridle and we (Bud and I) went all over the corrals. Just he and I, meandering about the cattle pens without a care in the world. The flowers were blooming, the birds were chirping--it was an blissful event! We were at my great-grandparents house and I remember how excited I was to tell them all about my ride "all by myself!"
Bud wasn't 'our' horse, unfortunately. He belonged to my uncle and so since I was destined to be a great cowpoke and all, the search began for a 'kid horse.'
Please note that the two girls are 'real' cowboys. You can tell 'cause they are wearing their boots! With their shorts! That their mom made!
Trigger was a Shetland pony my Grandad Pat found for us. The poor thing had foundered at some point in his life and we spent a great deal of time trimming his hooves. I'm really not that sure about the cause and effect of foundering--it's something about overeating and incredibly long toenails....You can look it up for yourself if you're that interested.
So when we first got Trigger, he wasn't much for running around or--running off! His feet hurt, I guess. (And you know, I was a kid so I might just be making all this up to tell a good story!) We rode him a lot. By the way, Trigger came complete with a kid-sized saddle AND a Roy Rogers Saddle Blanket. You're jealous, I know. You'd be even more jealous if we had possessed the foresight to keep the saddle blanket in good condition instead of leaving it in a barn at the mercy of wild gnawing critters and dirt and dust. And now it could be draped artfully across the back of a chair but lucky you, we didn't. So don't be jealous, ok!
Eventually Trigger's feet got better and we spent much of our riding time doing this:
Fruitlessly yanking and pulling and sawing on the reins and kicking him in the sides (PETA go away) to try to get him to go where we wanted, while he managed to snatch mouthfuls of whatever happened to look juicy and inviting and pretty much ignored our directions. And such is the saga of a kid horse. But don't I look cute in my cowboy hat? And yes, those are spurs on my boots and if this picture were better you could zoom in and see a picture of Roy Rogers on the back corner of the saddle blanket.
Ok, fine, I'll find a picture of it on the internet:
How's that? And in case you're interested--this sample sold for $200 on Hake's Auction site in 2007. Why, oh, why, did we leave that out in the barn???? We could be rich for all the junk we've allowed to disintegrate with our carelessness...I'll just keep EVERYTHING from now on, in pristine condition so my grandchildren can be rich....or maybe not.
The problem with kid horses is, in our experience, small horses (ponies and Shetlands) are usually not very well trained. So, sadly, the horse is usually willful and rotten and prone to raking people (me) off on low hanging tree limbs. Or planting it's feet while heading downhill--resulting in the person (me) on it's back sliding down the horse's neck and over it's head, to land at the bottom of a hill or terrace. Or the kid horse might take a crazy notion to head to the barn and turn suddenly on a dime, heading back north, while the rider (once again, me!) on it's back continues her journey south and ends up in the dirt (or worse!). We had a succession of paint ponies that lived for only a very short time with us. My parents got tired of the wailing and whimpering when, once again, we were dumped off by a wily horse trying to escape to the pasture and freedom.
I finally got big enough to ride a big horse. And my next mount was finally well-trained enough (maybe!) for me to ride. And her name was....(are you ready?) Babydoll.
When she was born, Mom suggested I choose a pretty name cause she was such a pretty colt. I wanted to name her Diamond Ring, cause that was the prettiest thing I could come up with! But we settled on Babydoll! She was a colt from my dad's horse whose name was---Mare. Yep. That really was her name. Along with some other things I can't mention here :)!
Babydoll was a pretty darn good horse, but she was jumpy--especially when it came to barbed wire. When she was a colt, she got wrapped up in some and was cut up severely. Forever after, if you rode near wire, you were a hop, skip, and a jump away from hitting the ground if you didn't hold on. But at that point, I was older and loved the challenge! I hardly ever fell off when she did her little dance!
Come back tomorrow and meet Terri. She was an Appaloosa mare I got to train and was MY horse! And no, I didn't name her!