Monday, May 12, 2014

Memory Monday: I Can See Clearly Now...

The rain is gone..

Another old memory.  We needed to take the herd out.  They were restless.  It was storming and the paths were getting slick.  The rain pelted us, soaking through the little clothes we had on in the relentless summer humidity.  Oh Midwest, why does it have to be so humid?  Finally, a short break in the storm, but the heavy rains continued.  We were brave folks.  We'd do our jobs regardless.

We needed to go to a farther pasture.  The horses had eaten down all the grass in the close fields.  Time to go further.  I was nervous: a further run and more chance for trouble of course.  Trees to run into, horses to avoid jostling.  They liked to buck and run and trip while galloping out to fresh grass.

I chose a reliable horse.  Several of us liked to call him Meatball, although that really wasn't his name.  Your typical stock horse.  Good gaits and smooth and steady in the herd.  I didn't particularly want to sit a bucking horse on that run in soaking weather.

I bellied up onto his warm, wide back.  He was comfortable to sit on bareback, an added bonus.  He wasn't always the fastest horse, so I decided to sit in the middle with the herd as they went out.  Leading was always my favorite, but this was fine too. 

The horses milled around anxiously in the corral waiting to be released.  The leader left with her steed.  The herd burst forth, like a river overflowing its banks.

I went with them, like another salmon in a mass migration.  My job was fairly simple: make noise and keep the energy of the herd up and moving.  If the herd stopped, stragglers would break off and leading them out would be nearly impossible.

The first few moments of the run went well.  His strong hindquarters bunched up easily underneath him as we set off in a slow canter.  Rain pelted my eyes and made it hard to see.  However, I knew what was next.

I was not a fearful rider, but this moment made me hesitate just a bit.  Part of the path which we needed to take was a fairly steep downwards slope through a gate that opened to another field.  Horses usually would gingerly pick their way through on a meandering trail ride.  However, it was not especially wise to slow down too much down the hill while guiding the horses out.  The gate was narrow and a slow horse would be intimidated, bitten, or kicked by a more joyous free horse, as well as slowing the pace would lose any energy of the herd, causing individual horses to splinter off.  Exactly the opposite of what was desired.

I looked down at the gate, my wet slippery hands trying to grasp my smooth leather reins.  Meatball was ready to do his Man From Snowy River impression.  I sat back and let him have his head.  He would keep himself safe and be smooth and true.  

I closed my eyes.

I felt him sit down on his haunches and slide down the muddy hill.  He kept moving quickly and was at ease with himself in his environment. 

And just as soon as we hit the bottom, I opened my eyes.  He has carried me safely and did his job well, for he was one in his environment and I was determined to be one with him on that wet and wild afternoon.


  1. That would have been terrifying!! However it is definitely a fun story. :D I'm glad Meatball kept you safe.

  2. You have the most amazing adventures!


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