Monday, August 11, 2008

So You Think You Can Ride

A few weeks ago, my husband and I spent two days at the local fairgrounds' horse arena. The event was for the Washington State Mounted Shooters and we'd made a pair of spurs for one of the trophies handed out. We set up a vendor table and met a lot of nice folks, sold some stuff, suffered the heat, watched a big fire blow up over on Mt. Adams, and listened to some tall yarns from the chink-maker set up next to us.

Pete had previously made a set of spurs, sporting the initials WSMS, a pistol and the customer's initials for the "rangemaster" of this group. She sat on her horse all day in the arena and reported to the announcer and records' keeper the score for each rider.

We enjoyed her short visits and getting to meet Merlin, her horse.

Julie was not a rider when she joined the WSMS a couple of years ago, so she told me that she had looked for a dead-broke horse to buy that would enable her to become a part of this family-oriented, horse-related club.

Merlin looked very old to me, though she said she was told he was 14. I didn't look at his teeth. But it was plain to see this horse was bullet-proof. Right down to his toes. He stood around half-asleep every moment I saw him over two days' time and never took notice of anything. Looked to be the perfect horse for Julie.

When she rode up to our tent the first time, I went out from behind the table and pet the old sorrel. The feel of his hair-covered hide was so natural to me, even though I had not, til that time, touched a horse in a year and a half. For 40 years, there was never a day that I didn't have my hands on a horse. I never thought I'd be 18 months without touching one. But, there I stood. And I didn't cry. I was okay.

I walked around him and ran my hand softly over his hip, looking at her saddle as I went. She had a pretty nice rig on him.

The next day when she stopped by, I again went out and said hi to Merlin. It popped into my mind, "I bet Julie would let me ride him around a bit if I asked."

Almost as soon as I thought those words, Julie said, "I don't want to start anything, but if you wanted to ride him, I'd surely not mind."

I said, "You bet I would." And I turned to my husband and said, "Julie says I can ride Merlin around here a bit. Is that okay with you?"

Pete firmly stated, "You are NOT going to ride that horse! No way!" I could almost hear words akin to alarm recordings in a fancy car: "Step away from the horse!"

I accepted his judgment as being better than mine, and I declined her offer and she understood. I knew Pete was right. My doctor told me that for me, riding is "suicidal," adding, "If you fall off, you die." I was sure I wouldn't have fallen off (though, who is ever sure?) but I knew that if I rode the horse, I'd be heartbroken and, also, I would start nurturing the thought of having my own old, dead-broke, bullet-proof, half-dead-on-his-feet horse.

It was for the best.


Anonymous said...

Oh Virginia, I am so happy that you were able to visit with Merlin and have that time touching him. I bet that in itself felt good to do. I know it also must have been hard and I am proud of you sweetie.
I am glad that Pete did not let you get on although I think it would have made you feel so good inside, your neck would have not felt too good. I truly beleive that one day either here or in heaven you will get to ride again and it will be a glorious time for you sweetie. Praise God when that time does come. It sounded like you had a good day too. I love those kinds of events. I spend all my time at the fairs when I can. This last year I was supposed to show Bulls for a man out of the Fence Lake area and just as I was getting ready is when tings did a spin and I ended up having my brain surgery.

Our timing is not God's that is for sure.

Love you sweetie, Jo AKA InHisGrace

Anonymous said...

I started my internet journey tonight looking for an interesting knot to tie off a mecate I'm just finishing up. I looked at a bunch of knots, but didn't see anything truly special until your site came up. I am 26, and like you, have spent most of my life in the company of horses. For the last few hours I have read your posts, and felt the need to write and tell you (for what it's worth) how much respect I have for you. I don't know if people can live vicariously through others, but perhaps a part of you will be able to continue to ride through me. Because I know that in the morning when I saddle my first horse of the day, the thought of you and Shadow will be with me.

Here's to those who have the strength to lead honorable, devote, and productive lives, no matter what life throws at them!

With prayers and warmest regards,
Dana Kyle Kimball