I’m back. Transported by a large jet, walking through immigration in Houston, on to the Austin Airport, then the three hour drive north to Walnut Springs, back to the ranch.
I was eager to see Minnow, my blue roan horse buddy, and to cupping his soft nose
in my hands. I actually was relieved to walk through the searing 104 degree blow dryer breeze from my back door to the horse barn. It was familiar and welcome.
I enjoyed the time in Mexico. I love meeting new, fun to be with, people and learning about another culture. Returning to the horses is my therapy. Riding them in the pasture is similar to sitting outside for lunch with an old friend. Nature nurtures.
My first job when I got back was to take women from the Dallas area, riding in the early mornings before it got too hot. We decided 7:30 would be good and agreed to meet at the barn the next morning. For me, that is a 5:30AM feeding, then grooming and then saddle each horse according to what each rider would need in the way of stirrup length, size of seat and so on.
My best friend had driven up from Austin to visit and help. She has turned into quite a hand and there was no need to supervise her as she promptly saddled and moved each horse out into the parking area where we get the folks mounted up.
When everyone was mounted, we moved off down the road, hitting a trail in the pasture and continued off into familiar territory but new views for the ladies. I am always amazed at the way women open up and chat while riding. There are the first nervous conversations about the last time they rode at camp and maybe a story or two about some scary experience horseback but soon everyone is laughing and talking about kids and what is new at their vacation home.
When we got back to the barn, one of the women that had spent her childhood horseback, asked if she could go into the arena and lope her horse around a bit, to satisfy her need for speed since I keep riders at a walk/trot during trail rides. She entered the arena but Preacher, not wanting to leave his buddies who were being put up at the barn, decided he would rather go back that way. Her weight was already forward in anticipation of him going a bit faster so when he turned suddenly under her, she lost her balance and slipped out of the saddle and onto the hot, hard ground.
“Loose horse“, I heard over my explanation of how to tie a horse to the hitching post. As I looked up, here came Preacher, sans rider. “Is Lisa okay“?, I asked. “Yea, she is walking this way”, said one of her girlfriends. I grabbed Preacher’s reins, walked him to her and asked her if she was alright. “Yes,” she said. “He just turned out from under me but I’m fine“.
“The best thing for you and him is for you to get back up there as soon as possible and let’s walk down to the arena and end this on a more positive note. Are you willing“? I asked.
She nodded and courageously remounted. I walked with them down to the arena and we talked about what had happened and how we were going to make it better. “How is your heart rate“? I asked her jokingly. “Fast“, she said.
We entered the arena and walked and stopped, letting them both regain their composure and when I saw Preacher’s mouth relax and his rider’s hand stop quivering, we started back towards the barn.
” I am so sorry this happened“, I told her. She replied that it was life, things are going to happen but that she would be fine.
I found out later that her son had passed away a year or more earlier.
Riding was a way to remember that life was still good. We are all survivors.