Saturday, January 3, 2015

It's been awhile.

It has been a good while since I wrote anything here for my True Horse Tales blog. For that I apologize. My blog is only followed by a very few close friends ( so it's not like lots of people have missed it) and this is a project that I hope to one day leave to all of my kids when I am gone.

See...I really want them to have a feel for what their moms life was like before they were born, while they were growing up, and after they were adults themselves. What I would have given to have something like this from my parents to visit from time to time. A glimpse into their lives, their loves, and the way they thought about things would have been something I would have cherished.  

My life has been dominated by my love of horses. I'm not sure why that is and probably never will know. My parents shared with me that by the time I was three I was telling them I wanted a pony. They also told me that I was from then on relentless with that request. Every birthday, every Christmas came the same answer to "what do you want", and the answer was always "a pony".

On my sixth birthday my father took me by the hand and told me to come outside into the back yard where my gift was, and it was something I had wanted for a long time, I was so excited I could hardly breathe. I felt like I was floating out the back door of the house. My pony! They finally got me a pony! 

From the height of joy and excitement to the throws of a little kid so disappointed I was crying my guts out. See... what was on our back patio was one of those ride on spring horses that little kids play on. My poor father must have felt awful as I cried over and over to him, "No daddy, No!, I mean a real one! a real one!" to which my flustered father kept saying " This one is real, if you can touch it, it IS real" to which I replied "No daddy I want one that has fur on it" I remember this as if it happened yesterday and the fact of the matter that was almost 50 years ago. 

By the time I was ten my father broke down and bought me my first pony. He was an all white pony named Spirit. 45 years later I still remember vividly a number of our rides together and the accidents I had on him learning to ride by the seat of my pants. (literally as I had no saddle) and the truly amazing thing is I have not been without a horse, or many since. 

This obsession ( and yes I think its fair to call it that) has been with me growing up, through grade school, junior high, high school. young adulthood, a couple of failed marriages, a struggling single mother for 5 years, and 20 years of marriage to my now husband and soul mate. Ron who has not only supported my obsession, but has jumped in head first to share it with me. See he understood that I came with some baggage. Lots of 1,200-2,000lb baggage that eats, poops, runs and bucks, and he figured out faster than my father did that it had to have "fur on it". Only now I properly call it a "haircoat".    

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A real life Fairy Godmother

This years Cinderella Ball fundraiser for "Safe Places" a safe house for abused women and their children was extra special for us this year. Not only did more ball goers than ever take advantage of our horse and Cinderella carriage for photo's and rides, we were treated to a real life fairy Godmother. That's right a real fairy Godmother complete with a lighted and glowing dress and a magic wand too! Now how cool is that?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Grandma's surprise

I take care of my elderly mother who is eighty six. In the last year mom has become bed ridden, and helpless. She has dementia as well and possibly Alzheimer's. As you can imagine other than her family and the day to day routine just being alive she has very little that brings her joy these days. cream. She loves ice cream.

She no longer will eat a regular meal and has to get her nutrition via a formula I have to administer through a stomach tube. She has several wonderful home health nurses that come to the house and watch over her, and requests the tests needed to keep her doing as well as can be expected. The whole family does what we can to make things as pleasant as we can for her.

In this photo my daughter Shelby walked our mini horse into the house and into grandma's room. She talked for a minute or so before mom noticed there was a horse in the room! The wide eyed look of surprise when she did was priceless. The joy on her face getting to pet the pony's nose was worth sharing.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

All I can say is WOW

Last night 9-10-11 I took the girls to a local horse show. Its county fair time here and some of the saddle clubs are having extra shows to fund raise for next year. The young lady in the photo is my 18 yr old daughter Cody. She is riding her new horse Fonzie in a speed event called Dash For Cash. Its a one barrel turn at the end of the arena and the fastest time wins.I bought this horse only 4 days earlier and she had only had a chance to ride him twice before this event. So in all honesty and knowing very little about how Fonz would act  at a horse show, she was for all practical purposes as they say "winging it"

Most times when you take a new horse into a new environment and the two of you are not yet a "team" you are more than happy to just get through the day and learn a little more about your new mount. Many times you might find the horse is nervous away from home and you spend most of your time just getting them comfortable. As it was Cody felt Fonz was ok with his surroundings so she had me enter her in several events so she could get a feel for how he is inside the arena. 

The amazing part of this story is how well they did. She ran a very passable barrel race for her first time in the arena with this horse with a 24 second run. 21 seconds were winning. I was impressed! but not as impressed as I was going to be. Her next class was a dash for cash where one barrel is set up that you must run around with the fastest time winning. This is where the horses can and do really open up and go. Cody with a new horse ( who had lost a back shoe) with only 2 previous hours in the saddle on this horse, and their first time together at a horse show ran a blazing fast time in the race and finished 4th out of 34 entries! 

To say the least that was certainly nothing we expected when we left out from home for our evening out with the horses. Our minds were geared up just to acclimate the new horse to the show grounds, and have a bit of fun. Which we did indeed do, but never in a million years did I expect Cody to place in a large speed event against riders that have been running all year. Wow. 

Monday, August 29, 2011

My first horse sized horse.

At about age 15 Dad bought a horse from a close by neighbor who agreed to keep the horse for me at his place that was even closer than Daltons was. His name was Larry Biggs and he was a Marion county sheriff. His father was a life long horseman they just called "Honey" Larrys wife was named Sandy and I really liked them both. I got my first full sized horse from Larry and Sandy by buying a yearling that grew up to be 15 hands or so. He was a 1/2 Arabian, 1/2 Qh, and Larry had named him "The Judge" after a spoof by a TV comedian named Flip Wilson who did a skit called "here comes tha judge!"

The photo is of my dad on a hot summer day getting a "pony ride" with me leading him a lap or two around the back yard of our Dearborn St, home. Apparently colored socks and shorts were all the rage? As you can see I have had to borrow a saddle for my peeps to get a spin on my horse. Even so in another picture from this day my mother is mounting by standing on a wooden slatted lawn chair just to reach the stirrup. Do you remember those? Classy compared to today's plastic ones.

At any rate "The Judge" must have been about my 5th horse, and this time it was really a horse! The definition of horse being an equine over the wither height of 56 inches. 56 inches and under is classified as a pony. You parents not being horse people were more afraid of me falling a long way to the ground than anything else associated with my obsession with having to have a horse. So they systematically bought me ponies that I was really too big for to begin with, and when my toes were dragging in the grass they would buy me one about a hand taller.

This time I foiled their plans. I bought "The Judge" as an untrained yearling, and I remember Dad saying, well...that one is a nice size. Just a little bigger than your pony is now. Not only did I train my first horse from start to finish with "The Judge" a year later I had about a 15 hand horse! I rode Judge everywhere. At 15 I was exploring past the confines of Dalton stables and its woods and trails. I started doing a lot of road riding. Judge got very well broke to all kinds of traffic.

I actually got to keep Judge a few years due to not out growing him. I cant remember why exactly but it seems Larry and Sandy were starting divorce proceedings, Honey had died, and Dalton stables was being bought by a developer, but something unexpected came down the pipe and I had to sell Judge. He was bought by a man who was on the mounted Patrol, and the fellow was tickled to get such a traffic savvy young horse.I liked the guy and that made having to let go a lot easier. I even gave him the leather bridle with the horses name carved in it I had made in a leather working class at school. He was even kind enough to call back months later to tell me that he was very pleased with the horse and "The Judge" was working out very well for him.

From then on though it was only full sized horses for me. I now had to find a new option to continue my crazed obsession with horses, but I knew I would fetter it out somehow. As you can imagine I was pretty used to having to let go of my horse only to end up with another by then.Even so I really missed "The Judge" he was pretty special to me for several reasons.

The oldest memories

This is the oldest photo I have of myself at a horse show. The pony I'm riding was the second one I had owned and his name was Nightmare. A Nightmare he wasn't. He was a really good, well trained pony and the first one that taught me the value of a broke horse. You see the first pony I owned was named Spirit and quite frankly I'm pretty sure he earned it. He was all white, hyper, and a handful. Not only was he my first pony and I had to learn to ride on him, my father flat refused to by me a saddle because back then the price tag on a used saddle was 2x the cost of the pony. Board was $25 a month. Lucky for me the stables was within walking distance of my suburban neighborhood on the south side of Indianapolis near Beech Grove, In.

The place was called Dalton Stables and the man in charge of it for many years was known as Pic Dalton. His common law wife Betty Day lived there with him for many years in the little old white run down farm house on the hill. Dalton stables had several hundred acres, pasture, woods, and an adjoining unused property with several hundred more acres that you could slip through the ancient barb wire in places and ride on even more land. As you can imagine it was a 10 yr old child's paradise. Back then kids my age could disappear from after breakfast until dark without a parent's frantic worry.

I leaned much about horses and people at that stables even as a child. There were a couple of roping horses Speedy and Razor and their cowboy owners were a header, and heeler team. They used to practice team roping in the old run down arena at the base of the hill to the left of the huge many stall boarding barn. I used to enjoy watching them "doing their thing".

 I also became aware of owner neglect even way back then when a pathetic Tennessee Walking horse that never got out of his filthy stall went from healthy, to thin, to starved over a period of just a few months. I remember feeling so sorry for that horse I cleaned his stall consisting of a foot of urine soaked and packed feces. Being I was just a kid with no form of income of my own that was all I could do at the time. Even so I imagine the poor horse appreciated it.

The happier times were spent riding bareback through the hundreds of acres of woods on my pony. I spent about five years boarding at that place, riding those woods, and enjoying every minute of it. Learning to ride or die trying on Spirit, and later enjoying the pleasures of a well mannered pony named Nightmare that really wasn't. I even got my start in horse showing on Nightmare and the picture is of he and I on a barrel pattern. I'm sure I did not have a saddle and that hand you see is gripping nothing more than a handful of mane. 

A "loaner"

This is my hubby Ron at a QH show in Pine Bluff, Ar. a few years ago. I had hauled my Weiscamp gelding down there to show in a few western pleasure classes. With the over 2 hour drive down there, and the few classes offered for me, I decided that Ron and Homer my horse ( named after Homer Simpson) were going to give it a go in the men’s western pleasure as well. Why not, right?

Well…..except for the fact that Ron had hardly ever rode the horse before much less shown him. You see I do this once in awhile to my good natured hubby and he is always a sport about it. You see this wasn’t the first time. Ever since the one time threw him on cold turkey like that, and he won a BIG class he’s has been a real trooper about it. That time I was on “a loaner” all day. I used to show a horse named Scooter for a dear friend who used to board him at our farm in Shirley, In.

As it was that day with Scooter I had already won several big WP classes in a row. Ron just happened to be standing in the wrong place at the wrong time right near the exit gate. I stepped down off the horse and told him to “get on!” He looked at me puzzled, and I repeated myself, “get on! The judge really likes this horse!” You see Ron was supposed to ride his own horse in the men’s WP, but we pulled a switch at the last minute. Ron’s looked changed from puzzled to startled and then he exclaimed “but…but…I’ve never even rode this horse” To that I answered “ “He’s broke isn’t he? GET ON!”

So he did. Much to all of our delight, (me, owner Linda who was watching, and our kids) Ronzo as we affectionately call him, threw his leg over, put his feet in stirrups that weren’t adjusted for him, promptly went in and WON the big men’s WP class! He won a fair amount of prize money as well which he informed Linda he was keeping for the dirty deed we had just pulled on him. (Normally I gave her all the winnings to Linda help offset the cost of showing her horse) Linda laughed, Ron beamed, and from that point on he never again gave me that “are you CRAZY?” look when I slapped him unexpectedly on a "loaner”