Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Horse of Another Color

What I saw between the ears of the red horse was totally different.  It was what I remember from years and years of riding. It was truly a ride of "going home".  There have been a couple of times that I have been able to "go back" and ride at the ranch.  This weekend was different.  The weather could not have been more perfect…sun shining, 53 degrees, light wind.  My favorite riding attire was perfect, riding tights, long sleeve shirt, a vest and my seriously old 4X Resistol hat.  "Solo" was calmer this time.  He saddled easily and did not swish his tail as he has in the past.  I circled him in the round pen a couple of times just to be sure but I could tell he didn't need it.  We headed out, with Claire, the cow dog, in tow, but she eventually headed back.  Though she loves me and wants to go, she is crippled and just can't get around like she use too.  She could tell we were headed for along ride.  We rode down through the creek where his feet are much more tender than many horses.  When you get him on gravel he tiptoes, and all he can think about is his feet.  I try to avoid that but it is good information to have about a horse.  Should he try to act up, get him on gravel and thinking about his feet.  He's very alert and has his ears pricked forward at all times.  He still walks with emotion and intent, however, he did not trot or prance or try to get ahead of himself.  He is somewhat impatient and in a hurry to get back to his friends, but he would tolerate my stopping, listening, looking and watching.  As we rode past the big oak where several well loved dogs are buried, memories flood my mind.  I linger for a minute, send blessings to heaven and move on.  Solo quietly allows me to open the gate this time, willing to move his body to my feet.  "Good boy".  From between the ears of the red horse the scenery is different.  My usual ride, between gray ears, includes dirt fields and cotton patches.  I can see miles at a time, nothing blocks my view.  This time I riding off into the brush, the forest some might call it.  This time I'm seeing flocks of ducks fly off the pond.  They've stopped here while flying one direction or the other for winter.  Solo doesn't flinch.  Off we go stepping through water in another creek which he takes like an old horse.  He has had some issues with that in the past.  It's quiet in the brush, the thick trees.  You can hear the rustle of the leaves and the sounds of the birds.  We stop to listen.  I love that quiet.  There is just nothing like it.  Off in the not to distant trees I see three doe.  They stop, look, then run like crazy.  You can hear the twigs popping and the brush rustling as off they go.  Seeing wildlife while horseback makes me feel a part of nature.  You are in their home.  Most everything is gray or brown.  However, since the rain, there are green sprigs of rye and winter grass peeping out of the ground.  The animals love that.  As we ride up to the next pond I see a buck on the other side.  He stands very still for a moment, but as we ride into the clearing he too races off into the denseness of the trees.  I can't really say how large an area we ride.  I usually chalk my riding time up in minutes.  This ride takes about 1 ½ or 2 hours.  As fast as Solo walks, we make it around quicker.  On this ride I don't see any cattle.  I'm covering quite a bit of country so I don't really know why.  The next thing we ride up on however are some hogs.  Solo has never seen any hogs that I know of.  Most horses will smell them first.  That ought to tell you they don't smell very good.  These hogs were off in a creek turning up dirt looking for insects and grubs and whatever they can find.  They love must; you must know that already!  Hogs generally run off as fast as a hog can and these hogs were no different. They don't usually stop and look they just go. These were pale brown in color, not black, which is a little unusual.  Solo was a little startled, but then just stood and watched.  "Good boy".  Since this horse is on virtually all new territory (he is new to the ranch) he's not really sure when he is on the way home or not.  So his pace is just always quick, hoping that the barn is just around the next corner.  From where these hogs were, we were over halfway home.  On the way back to the house I heard hawks calling and saw them soaring in the blue sky.  They are looking for something to eat.  Soaring hawks are a favorite site of mine.  We have a couple more "stop and stand still" lessons as we stroll back to the barn.  We traverse down some hills, through another creek, back through another gate.  He does fine.  "Good boy".  Unsaddling him he is quiet.  Once I get him back in the barn though he begins to knicker deep.  He has a very low voice.  He's hollering this time…"feed me".  So I do.  I give him and his buddy some grain and a whole bale of hay.  They are good at "chowing down".  So until tomorrow old friend…see you then. 

Encourage One Another

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