My mom and Aunt Kathy joined the Sheriff’s Posse in Henry County and are getting their horses ready to ride in a parade this summer. Last week, they made an inaugural ride in town, and here’s Mom’s account of their adventure:
Just had to share—my sister, Kathy O’Dell and I put another new horse experience under our belt earlier this evening. To many of you this may seem unimportant or easy, but it was a milestone for us.
We made our maiden ride in town and all (including the horses) breathed easier when we got back to the trailers. We started our adventure at the local soccer field parking lot. It is located on the SW edge of town with Corp. of Engineers (government) property just across the street. The parking lot and the soccer fields were empty, so with the lightly wooded field it made the area seem non-threatening for the horses. They were glad to see that they were not there alone.
Once saddle up and mounted the horses left the parking lot at a brisk walk. Didn’t seem much different than the Saturday ride except for the asphalt underfoot (the reason we were riding in town and practice for some parades later in the summer). One and half blocks later we approach our first storm water drains—the ones with the gaping mouth and 30 inches culverts. After a bit of snorting and cocking of the eye we passed by, grateful to the Lord that nothing had made any noise as we passed by. Shortly thereafter, my horse Duke, spied the housing addition on one side of the street ahead. He promptly decided he needed to turn around and go back toward the trailer. He listened well and responded by turning back to the direction we were going and proceed down the street.
Now I’m not going to give you a step-by-step description, but will tell you of some of the eye catchers and hoof stoppers we encountered. First there was the weed eater, the visible black and brown barking Dashhound and nearby BIG dog behind the fence. About then we discovered that there might be snakes on the road—that black crack sealer got a real look over and a snort. Of course, there were the various cars and trucks coming home from work to find horses on their street. The drivers were courteous and we appreciated that greatly.
Down the block, a house that had children’s bike—pedal and motor—skate boards and a big motorcycle—no one was home yet so we were able to pass by without incident. Only a few yards away we had the opportunity to turn down the street with houses on both sides or turn and go down a short gravel road to a wetland preservation area. When planning this ride, I thought this would be a good place to let the horses ride in a type of environment they were familiar with (a stress reliever if needed), but didn’t consider that Duke (again) would think the signs, gates and large rocks were out to get him. About the time we decided we’d go down the street, Duke says, the gravel road looks like a great place to go. That was a good plan and the horses relaxed a bit until on the way back out Duke decided to jump away from who knows what and away we went. All was well as we got them stopped and went back to re-examine the area, finding that Domino left 6 deep hoof marks in the gravel as she bolted.
Back at the gates to the wetlands we were presented with 3 elementary age kids and a foot scooter, a riding and a push mower—both running at maximum throttle as well as 3-4 automobiles coming and going. We eventually headed down the street with houses on both sides of the road—here we had many mailboxes, large plastic trash cans (also known as horse feed containers), go-cart, 4-5 kids on a trampoline, boats, people moving around in there backyards amongst the trees, free standing garages, real estate signs, and a wooden bridge. Domino, Kathy’s horse, had to have a brief “back-up session” in the direction she was supposed to be moving forward in, but finally decided that forward would be better.
Soon we entered the city park and not far from the entrance along came a car with the LOUD muffler and a very nice rider of a motorcycle—he backed off the throttle and nearly coasted by us—Praise the Lord on that one!!! Now please realize that all this and more was within 6-7 city blocks (except going to the wetlands area).
We briefly explored the park and turn back toward the trailers. The trip back was much faster, though Duke discovered he had missed a large manhole cover that really needed his examination. He walked past it, but nearly had his head and one eye turned fully parallel to the pavement (no snort though). He was quite funny to watch. He also called out a few times to see if any other equine inhabited the area, especially about the time we were asking them to cross the railroad tracks (twice). Domino ended up backing across them the first time, her expression was priceless once she was across them. Her ears were flopped out, head down, like that was embarrassing, since Duke had walked forward over them and was several feet down the street. Our ride took us 75 minutes—seems like a long time if you or I were walking or driving it?
Kathy and I both have buckskin APHA (paint) horses . Hers a mare and mine a gelding. They nearly match in their markings and we love them dearly. We plan to ride side by side in at least one parade this year. They both think they are the “best horse” on the planet, because we tell them so—therefore they do what the can to torment each other. Duke likes to tip his nose over and out at the other horse, like “I’m better than you”. Domino’s usual response to his approach is pinned ears or “see my butt—it has 2 heels that go with it”, because “I KNOW I’m the best horse around!” We keep talking about having them trained as a team, just so they have to behave themselves when next to each other.
Hope you enjoyed this ride with us!