Monday, December 29, 2008

The Holidays in Ohio

Oh my goodness, has it really been three weeks since my last post? I didn't realize it until I started getting emails asking if everything was all right since I had not posted since the ninth. Sorry. Ohio had become one large ice skating rink until the other day when it turned 66 degrees and all of it melted.

Lets go back a few days to the ice skating rink. Our driveway is long and sits on a slight slope that starts with the highest point being the front door of the kennel. Traveling downward to the road, our driveway was a frozen waterslide. It was unavoidable with all the snow melting and freezing rain coming down in buckets. Add to these conditions an overzealous rather large dog who thinks he is a puppy, three adults and a teenager trying to get that puppy from the kennel to the awaiting truck in the driveway and what you have is an episode of the Three Stooges plus one. Thank goodness it melted and we can start over with the winter mess and possibly trade in the sleet and ice for some pretty fresh, clean snow. I know the horses were conspiring with each other about packing up and moving to greener pastures and I must say I would not have blamed them at all.

Well we shopped and wrapped and exchanged and unwrapped and ate and slept and watched old movies and went to Grandmas house like everyone does and we visited and came home and ate and slept some more. Sigh. Fun but tiring. I received two, no make that three very special gifts. One was a book that my older daughter had made for me and it is one of a kind. Photos of my dad and two poems I had written for him. The second was a 45 record, remember those? Rod Stewart which was the same record that my brother gave me for my birthday years ago. Jennifer even found a record player to play it on. Good memories attached to both and very thoughtful.

The third was an oar. Yep, I won a boat oar in the white elephant gift exchange. Funny! I am sure it will come in handy when I am up shit creek without a paddle. Now I have one. Any way, Merry Christmas to all of you and heres to a new, better year filled with hope, promise and more time out in the barn.


Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The American Quarter Horse

There is a saying in the industry that says "Friends don't let friends ride Arabs". Oh I am sure that each of us have our favorite breed and an Arabian is a perfectly good choice for some. My personal choice is an American Quarter Horse andhere are a few examples of why.

Riding in the Christmas parade one year with several friends, while stopped on Main street due to an approaching train, my gelding Teddy watches as the whistle blows and the ground seems to rumble beneath his feet. I look around at the other horses and realize that there is quite a menagerie of various breeds in attendance. As the train comes closer, three of the horses begin to prance. One actually backs up about twenty feet and nearly stops on top of the mini horse and cart just behind us. Another rears and the rider quickly dismounts. A third moves from side to side anxious and clearly not comfortable with the sound of the train. Two horses, mine and a sorrel mare lead the pack and stand quietly seemingly unaware of the chaos that is unfolding around us. Two Quarter Horses, Teddy and the sorrel mare hold their ground against the big iron horse that goes speeding down the tracks just a couple feet in front of us.

That is what I love about the Quarter Horse... they are rock solid when it comes to intense situations.

The other night, my husband was late coming home from work and I had been preparing a surprise steak dinner for him. I called him on his cell phone and told him I had a surprise for him and wanted to know if he would be home soon. He assured me he was at our corner and would be home in a matter of seconds. I put his New York strip on the plate, butter on the baked potato and a dab of sour cream and I watched out the window as his truck pulled up the driveway and he stopped about halfway to the house. The phone rang and it was him. He said. "Please tell me that my surprise is not the horses standing by the garage."
"WHAT?" I replied as I had just fed our crew and all were standing exactly where I had left them. I looked out the window and there in the driveway were two horses, a Paint horse and a pony with no halters. By the time we found the owners, a neighbor that lives a few houses down, it was quite dark and she was unable to come and retrieve them. My husband and our friend Sheri decided to walk the pair home with me following in the car so traffic could see them along the road. In the headlights, I watched as the two horses danced all over their handlers, struggling to get away and spooking over anything that moved.

I thought to myself, "I am a lucky woman to have horses that are better behaved and stay where I leave them, Quarter Horses that I can trust."

The truth is that a Quarter Horse is that one friend that we all have that has your back during the worst of times and makes the good times better because they are fun to be around. There is such a rich American history in their lineage and they have a work ethic that far outweighs that of any other breed. Now I may be bias considering they are my personal breed of choice but I can honestly tell you that the view from the back of my horse, my Quarter Horse, is a barn that is quiet and content enough that gaurantees me that the dogs will NEVER eat my steak dinner while I go fetch MY horses from a neighbors yard and walk them home.

We spent the evening eating rice while our dogs sighed a contented sigh with bellies full. "Friends don't let friends ride Arabs and smart people ride Quarter Horses.