Sunday, January 3, 2010

I Went to See a Man About a Horse... also known as... A Horse Tale Ü

A few years ago there was an add in craigslist (where else??) for horses and ponies for sale so I called and enquired about them. The guy said he used to do pony rides at Roger Williams Park and also carriage rides but has since decided to downsize and to just specialize in the horse drawn carriage aspect using only draft horses though.
So we set up a time and drove across the state to a place called Tower Hill Equestrian Center to meet up with him and his equines.
The guy introduced himself as Mike, and showed us what he had available for sale.
There were about 6 or 7 ponies, mostly Shetland type but a couple of bigger ones and I think three horses as well.
Well, the ponies really didn’t strike us as anything too interesting, and from my understanding they were all a bit green from not being ridden through the winter, and were not all up to date with the vet or farrier but he said he had his own personal horse out back that was, and he was ‘bomb proof’ which I found the sound of that very appealing, so off we went to have a look-see.
He was a gorgeous quarter horse with a white blaze on his face and white socks and one white eye. He stood well over 15 hands high and was very gentle in all aspects. I believe the guy called him something or other Lightning. I wasn’t paying much attention at this point as I was being mesmerized by the horse.
So the guy then posed the question to us if we would like him to saddle him up and go for a ride? Now, I probably should tell you that this certain equestrian center was in the business for giving trail rides and pony rides and there were trails leading out back to the fields and such and there were quite a few people there doing just that this day. So Mike turns to me and I look at him then back at the horse and I say “sure…saddle him up!” And away we went heading back towards the barn.
Now I am inserting this picture here as this is one of the only two pictures I took and it was at this moment that I just happen to take it. Heh heh heh…

Great pic eh?

So anyway he gets Mr. Lightning tacked up and we head over to the start of the trail. We have to wait our turn as there are a couple of people in front of us already, so we stood there chit chatting a few minutes to give room between the riders.
So now it is my turn to mount my horse and mosey on down the trail. “Hmmm… big horse” I say. The guy offers to take him over to a picnic table where I can step up. “Nah, I can do it” I say. And do it, I did, way up, up, up on top of the world! I was thinking, ‘Gee, this is a little different than the pony I used to ride back home in Idaho.’
So, the guy, or I think it may have been his brother, it was hard to tell, they were twins you know. He is holding the halter and we head over to the trail where he lets go… the first few steps were fantastic, clop… clop..clop… clop..clop… clop.. clop.
But with out warning, …the horse suddenly decides he wants to go faster, clippity-clop.. clippity-clop. clippity-clop…and then way, WAY faster! And in less time than it has taken me to write this he was at a full gallop barreling down the trail! And I think it may have been around the 3rd or 4th clippity-clop (I really don’t know as I wasn’t counting) my sunglasses went flying off the top of my head, and I suppose it was around maybe the 9th or 10th clippity-clop that my left foot inconsiderately slipped out of the stirrup.
Now, in retrospect, I surmised the reason that happened was because the saddle belonged to the guys twin brother, which I am guesstimating and I could be wrong, but I think that he had much longer legs than I do.
So, at this point I am doing three things;
1) I am thanking God that I am on a western saddle because I am white knuckling the horn of it.
2) I am blindly fishing with my foot (in between wildly bouncing) for my left stirrup which is flopping around just out of reach and
3) I am pulling back real hard on the reigns and yelling whoa, Whoa, WHOA!…STOP!!! Which isn’t working in the least bit.
At this point I flashed back to just before mounting, when I had jokingly said of the horse “He does know what whoa means, right?” hoo-hoo, hee-hee, har-har-har! We had a good laugh. I do realize now that the guy never did answer me though!
I think it may have been around this time that I started giggling. Why, I am not sure, it could have been the unrestrained bouncing on my bongos and the thought of what I must have looked like or maybe it was just the ‘these things only seem to happen to me’ thought, regardless, I giggled, and whether the horse thought that I was having a good time or not, I don’t know, I didn’t stop to ask him.
About now I notice a fork up yonder in the trail and my horse, Mr. greased Lightning, wasn’t slowing down at all and I had a vague recollection of the guy mentioning this fork and telling me that the horse will want to go left, but don’t go left as the main trail goes right. And I suppose that it was also around this point that the thought actually occurred to me that I probably should be scared, and I had a split second flashback of a few moments before when I happily skipped to the office and signed the insurance waiver. The thought of broken bones and pain snapped me out of my insane giggling as the horse took the left trail at full throttle, I was praying there were no low hanging branches along this way.
The trail led back to a small cluttered clearing where he slowed down a bit at which I was able to cinch his head side ways in order to turn him in several tight circles so that I could get my foot back in the stirrup, then we headed back to the fork and the main trail.
I did figure out that if I stuck my legs out to the side with my toes pointing up that I was able to keep my feet from falling out of the stirrups. (Can you visualize that one?)
Upon arriving at the main trail I looked back down the path and saw Papa and Webster coming to check on me. (Webster told me later that Papa was running down the trail to see if I was okay. Aww, he loves me!) Not wanting them to be trampled, I wave my hand to let them know I am alright, (well… at least I am still on the horse) and headed down the right trail, at which point, Mr. Greasy decides it’s time to slip in to high gear again… oh well, so much for a leisurely trail ride.
I am actually thinking that Mr. bombproof may have been a retired racehorse as I had heard that race horses were trained differently, like not slowing down when the reigns are pulled on.
Anyway, we barrel around another corner coming up fast on a group of innocent trail riders who had fear stricken faces as they saw me coming and I had a brief thought of something I had read somewhere about ‘riders must have control of their horses at all times’ but I quickly dismissed the thought of it applying to me as after all, this wasn’t even my horse!
But thankfully the horse quickly slowed down to a walk as we approached to pass them. They all wisely moved off to the side of the trail to let me pass, wasn’t that nice of them? I just kinda shrugged and laughed and said “Heh heh heh… he must not know what WHOA means, heh heh heh. ” I don’t think any of them were too amused.
At that point, I decided I had had enough and the inevitable was about to happen as it is a pretty well known fact that all horses go faster on the way back home. So, I mustered all my strength, or at least all that I had left and grabbed a hold of the reigns and held them high and was determined that I was NOT going to let him run and turned around and headed back to the barn!
I hadn’t gone too far down the trail when I saw what appeared to be an angel sent by God to lead me back home. What a glorious sight! They had asked a lady who is a regular there, if she would be so kind as to go looking for me, and I suppose the looking meant off to the sides of the trail also. What a blessing, she kept her horse (who was half clydesdale and half quarter horse and over 16 hands high) in front of us and if Mr. Greased Lickety-Split Lightning tried to go any faster she would turn her horse and prevent him from passing. Whew! What a relief! At last we were able to mosey! And mosey we did! clop… clop..clop… clop..clop… clop.. clop…
We got back and I dismounted and proceeded back up the trail feeling like I had just disembarked a ship that had been out to sea for 6 months, I was in search of my sunglasses hoping that I would find them in one piece. I don’t know whether it was working or not but I was really trying to walk ‘normal’… I have a feeling that I wasn’t fooling anybody though.
So… did we buy the horse?… Nah.
Now, if it was just for me to ride… I seriously would have considered it as he really was a great horse, I mean, it wasn’t like he was trying to kill me or anything he was just wound up and needed to expel some energy (which I have since had many great words of wisdom imparted to me one of which is that you should never be the first one to ride a strange horse always have the owner do it first! Everybody got that?)
So, we will continue our search for a nice, mellow, safe, dependable, reliable and trustworthy, tried and true; sound, stable, harmless, and most of all ‘bomb proof’ pony for Noah and I to ride!
I actually know of one right now… it is out in front of Walmart… it is a real quarter horse… that’s because you have to keep putting quarters into it to make it go! Heh heh heh
Oh, here is the only other picture that I took yesterday, the guy Mike is on the left with the pony and it is his identical twin brother who is leading Sir Lightning towards me. I don’t know his brothers name though… Ike perhaps?? Ü

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