So we rode.
Did I mention the wind?
Of course not. I was distracted in the last post.
It was very windy. That gusty "blow in the predators" kind of wind. As a result, the first three miles were what you'd expect. Some calm veteran trail horses, many "up" horses, a few circlers (I was glad not to be the only one). The ride was designed to stay in the trees a good bit and avoid the wide open plains and real wind blasts. By mile three, and with some instruction from Donna, I got Smokey to finally rate (which was my goal) and got to stop most of our circling (which I had been accidentally training him to do instead of slowing down). By mile five he'd settled down enough that I could have some conversations.
He was definitely one of the greenest horses out there and benefited greatly from the company of the mule - a lovely mare with jack rabbit like ears, long and slender, and that of a light sorrel 30 year old who, in addition to her rider, carried a small "doggie bag" with a live dog right in it. Jenny was some sort of terrier who did the cutest back samba/grass scratching when she was out of her bag.
There were also several horses that took a rather strong dislike to Smokey, and we figured out quickly who to avoid, fortunately without incident. There were two horse-on-horse near misses, but that was it.
My eye was drawn to a beautiful dun, with a quiet woman on the reins. The horse was compact, with a lovely arching neck, and I rode up to meet the woman riding him, M. I was pleasantly surprised, or rather, shocked, to learn that her horse was a Morgan.
I've been riding out in this area for years now, been at three boarding facilities and countless events. Smokey is the only Morgan I've come across. Now we were two!
Smokey and his fellow Morgan, Kee, got along famously. Many times I got the impression they were passing notes, they'd touch noses as we walked. Smokey was no doubt asking if we were seriously going to walk the whole way, Kee, the more philosophical, responding that yes, this was a walking kind of ride.
Kee's rider, M, pointed out Erin (who was one of our rescuers) on a palomino. "See my daughter? She's riding a Morgan too."
Three? Three Morgans in a sea of QH and TWH? Amazing!
Then it got really really wild.
At our first water stop I pulled up next to M and Kee and asked how Kee got his name.
"He's from the only line of Dun Morgans," she said. She named his sire, someone with Kee in his name.
I was pretty excited to know who was the sire of Smokey. "Smokey is out of Mountain man," I said.
She leaned forward. "Did you say Mountain man?"
"Yes," I said, wondering suddenly if Mountain man was either famous or notorious, possibly for being impossible to rate down without whirling like a tornado.
She smiled and pointed to Erin and her horse again. "That palomino, my daughter's horse, he's out of Mountain man!"
"You're kidding!" I said, looking again.
Yep. We actually met Smokey's "brotha from anotha motha."
She named the palomino's momma. And here are both Smokey and Sun's (his older brother's name) moms - Rochaven Faith (Smokey's) and Daisy Doll (Sun's).
When we stopped for lunch, we brought the brother's together. Sun, like Smokey, is very "forward" and Erin had spent much of the ride taking him off to the side to ride up and down, let him get into a trot and stretch out. I'd done that too, but my main goal with this ride was to rate my horse.
They stood next to each other, and touched noses. Debbie, our friend who was on the ride, took much better photos, and I hope to get one here in the next few day. For now, you'll have to be satisfied with these iphone pictures.
Sun: Just remember, I get the alfalfa, since I'm older.
Smokey: Not a chance, dude.
We enjoyed a quiet lunch under the cedars, hanging with our new found family. I wondered at the miracle of this. I was used to meeting dozens of Quarter horses with Doc Bar, or Lena. Those guys got around. But to meet TWO other Morgans and Smokey's BROTHER no less?
On the final mile, Smokey (as well as several of the horses) got pretty excited and Smokey and I had a little pitching going on. It was odd, but I found a tiny little sore when I washed him off at home. I wondered it that just broke open at that point, because it was a bit out of nowhere. Or maybe it was just "let me run to the trailer" kind of moment. Either way we worked through it and settled back down. We ended the ride safe and sound.
Debbie and Barbara (the farrier) followed us home to make sure we made it safely. The trailer guy is coming to check out the rig, Smokey had some trailer practice the next day, and I sit here in wonder of it all.
Grateful for the angels that pushed that trailer away from those trees and let it glide to a slow stop in the dirt.
Grateful for the angels that helped us get it back on the truck so we could get home.
Grateful for the accident happening in that exact spot, where there was no traffic, no highway, no huge ditch, possibly the safest way you could have your trailer come loose.
Grateful for horses that stayed relatively sane, pretty much model citizens for 80% of the time, and just goobers for 20%.
I've been given a chance to learn these lessons the easy way:
- Don't rush, just be late.
- Carry a big friggin' jack.
- And make sure you ride, despite the obstacles. Because you never know when you'll meet family along the way.