Posts Tagged With: growing up

Acquiring some horse sense

source: evans-welsh ponies

Good instincts usually tell you what to do long before your head has it all figured out – Michael Burke

I recently found myself in a situation that made me think of my horse, Riley.

Riley was an Arabian-Welsh cross that Dad bought  for me when I was 9. I’d been riding for several years by then but had never had my own horse.  I rode JJ and Queenie, my cousin’s horses, as often as I could, and our draught horses Tony and Bruce,  but that wasn’t the same as having my own.  When you’re a full-time cowgirl you need a full-time horse! So when Dad asked me if I wanted to go with him to deliver a load of hay, I answered, “sure,” figuring that, at the very least I’d score a pop and some candy. That’s what you get when you take a trip with the Candy Man.

Slipping on my jean jacket and hopping into the truck cab, I didn’t even notice the horse trailer behind us.  Flipping through the AM stations, we shared peppermints and listened to the farm reports.    Arriving at a farm I didn’t recognize, I helped Dad as he offloaded the bales.  I noticed an older man, the farm owner, approach the truck.   I half-listened as they talked about grain costs and hay availability but, truth be told, I wasn’t paying them much attention because it was around that time that I spotted a dark grey horse looking at me intently.  He, with the most beautiful and inquisitive face, stared at me from a cow-filled corral and with cow pies up to his knees.  I abandoned the hay and sloshed through the barnyard muck, my rubber boots making a squirsh squirsh sound as I rushed to meet him.  Slowly and deliberately, he approached the fence but maintained a 3 foot distance from the rails.  Hardly daunted, I scaled the fence and, perched on the top, and reached out my hand so as to pet him. He snorted, stamped a foot, and backed away.

From behind I heard an unfamiliar voice ask, “So I hear you’re in the market for a horse?”

“Huh?” I said, looking in confusion over to my Dad, who stood at the truck grinning.

“What do you think all this hay is for?” giggled Dad.

Still confused, I looked from man to man and realized what was really going on:  they were trading hay for a horse – MINE!

I could hardly stand the ride home and I barely heard Dad as he explained, “You do realize he’s at least 5 years old and not even halter broke yet. He doesn’t know anything. You will need to work with him every day and teach him. You know that, right?”

Did I?

I spent nearly every day with Riley, after school, all weekends and every summer that followed.

So I brushed him. I spoiled him. I told him all my secrets. He greeted me with a nicker , ears up and one step forward, every time.  I laughed at his antics as he stole treats and opened gates for other horses but he’d redeem himself by obediently giving rides to children who visited us.  When he misbehaved, and he often did, I’d have him back up in straight lines. Doing so won us both ribbons at the local 4-H show because, unbeknown-st to me, being able to back up through an L corner was a key part of the “Western Trail” class competition. That horse could back a perfectly straight line the entire length of the arena.

There were many things that he was not: he was not tall and he was not lanky, and that was OK ’cause neither was I.  He was, however, as dignified as an Arabian desert racer could be and as smart, stubborn and dependable as Welsh ponies are known to be. He was perfect for me.

Riley.

He did more than listen: he provided therapy to a girl with a head full of dreams trying to find her place in the world.

He taught me more about trusting my instincts than any person ever has.

Once, on our way home from yet another adventure with the cousins, he kept stopping every 20 feet or so.  Growing impatient, I urged him on. Finally, he stopped firmly, planted his feet, swung his head and bit me on the foot.   He got my attention, and as I spun him around there, about 15 feet directly behind us, was the largest male coyote I’d ever seen.  Clearly Riley had sensed what lurked behind us but could not see it clearly.   The coyote, no threat to us, locked eyes, looked down and loped away.   That day, I learned to listen to what he had to tell me:  I know better than you kid, and you might just want to pay attention.

Me & Riley, 4-H Achievement Day 1979

Me & Riley, 4-H Achievement Day 1979

What brings me to this tale?

A situation presented itself to me recently that just didn’t sit right with me. I tried to brush it off, to no avail. I finally spun around and stared it down for what it was. I recognized it, I dealt with it, and I moved on.

Thank you, Riley, for teaching me to trust what my gut’s telling me long before my head has it figured out.  Thank you for teaching me that it’s perfectly normal to sing into a prairie wind and that gates only exist to be opened.

What have your animals taught you?

*originally posted by Emjayandthem on April 1, 2011

related posts:

Categories: Animals, Faith, Family, Friendship, Growth, Joy, Life, Life Lessons, Personal, Relationships, Self Discovery, Thoughts, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

The first real taste of life

image from onlineseats.com

Over time, most of us have found ourselves drawn into shaky scenarios, usually when we were quite a bit younger.  Me?  I’ve had many.  One that comes to mind is joining Columbia Record House at 14. Yep, for only a PENNY I got an incredible music collection!!  12 – count ’em – 12 brand new 8-tracks for just a penny!! (just buy a predetermined amount later at “regular Club House prices.” )  What a deal!    Yeah … not really.

Recently, our youngest found himself facing an “opportunity” that, to me, sounded a little too good to be true.  Kind of like winning a sweepstakes that you never entered. Hmmm…let’s just say that my “Spidey-Senses” were a-tingling.  I tried talking him through it and I tried talking him out of it, but to no avail. He believed.  He looked at me, with those eyes, so full of trust and youth ….so I agreed to go along and find out more information.

Ahead of our outing, the hubbs and I had several side conversations that went a little like this:

“You do realize this whole thing is bogus, right?”

“Of course I do.” I replied.

“So … why are you going?”

“Because sometimes kids just have to learn on their own.” I replied.   “I have talked to him till I’m blue in the face; he’s heard me but he’s not listening.”  

Now Hubbs and I agree on many things but sometimes we just parent differently.  He’d have said “No, it’s stupid, it’s a waste of time and you’re not going,” and that would have been the end of it…  in his mind.

Me?

Sometimes I am that abrupt but this time, something inside told me that it was less convoluted to tag along and let the proverbial chips fall where they may.

So, off we went. 

Arriving at our destination, I watched his eyes as he scanned the room of other young hopefuls nervously clutching the same paperwork as he.  I saw the look on his face when he realized that everything he hadn’t wanted to hear – was spot on. 

I kept my trap shut.

Whispering, he asked if I wanted to leave.

“It’s up to you,” I replied, “but there’s no harm in hearing what they have to say.”

He grinned, we stayed; turned out, it was way bogus, as in really ridiculously-cornball bogus and later, he laughed.  What started out as a chuckle grew to tipping his head back in a full-out holding onto-his sides with laughter.

That afternoon, over cheeseburgers and a shared shake, we talked about the day and laughed over the absurdity of it all. Suddenly he stopped, looked me straight in the eye and said, “Mom … you were so right. How did you know?”

Smiling, I gave him a one word answer, “Experience.”

I never said “I told you so” and I didn’t poke his wounded pride by teasing him about it.

We shared the moment, he learned yet another life lesson, and that was that … with that.

.::.

“Kids … they learn more from their own mistakes then they do from ours” – My Mom

Categories: Confidence at any age, Determination, Family, Home, Life, Life Lessons, Men, Opinion, Personal, Random, Relationships, Self Discovery, Share, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 23 Comments

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

A Little Wild Farm

Planting roots on our little wild farm.

Connie Rosser Riddle

Connecting with People in My Path

Atypical 60

A Typical Blog. A Typical Woman. A Typical Take On Life. With An Atypical Twist!

A New Day Dawns

Arise, shine; For your light has come!

Virginia Views

Country Living for Beginners

Views and Mews by Coffee Kat

Kate's views on life edited by four opinionated cats

Renee Johnson Writes

Novelist, Traveler, and More

Life Is A Journey... Not A Guided Tour

My Journey From Merchant Mariner to Mother, And Spiritual Being.

notquiteold

Nancy Roman

She's A Maineiac

just another plaid-wearin' java-sippin' girl

I also live on a farm

Just another WordPress.com weblog

Wordsmith's Desk

some thoughts along the way

Meanwhile, back at the ranch...

music, poetry, musings, photography and philosophy from a woman who found her way back home and wants you to come over for a hike and a cocktail.

these days of mine

Stop in and see what's happening during these days of mine

When I Ride...

How life coaches me as I ride...

RICH RIPLEY

EMPLOYEES MUST WASH HANDS...

A Little Wild Farm

Planting roots on our little wild farm.

Connie Rosser Riddle

Connecting with People in My Path

Atypical 60

A Typical Blog. A Typical Woman. A Typical Take On Life. With An Atypical Twist!

A New Day Dawns

Arise, shine; For your light has come!

Virginia Views

Country Living for Beginners

Views and Mews by Coffee Kat

Kate's views on life edited by four opinionated cats

Renee Johnson Writes

Novelist, Traveler, and More

Life Is A Journey... Not A Guided Tour

My Journey From Merchant Mariner to Mother, And Spiritual Being.

notquiteold

Nancy Roman

She's A Maineiac

just another plaid-wearin' java-sippin' girl

I also live on a farm

Just another WordPress.com weblog

Wordsmith's Desk

some thoughts along the way

Meanwhile, back at the ranch...

music, poetry, musings, photography and philosophy from a woman who found her way back home and wants you to come over for a hike and a cocktail.

these days of mine

Stop in and see what's happening during these days of mine

When I Ride...

How life coaches me as I ride...

RICH RIPLEY

EMPLOYEES MUST WASH HANDS...