Thursday, May 3, 2012

Run for the Roses...or the blackberries!

I have horses on the brain these days.  After all, it's May and the Kentucky Derby is this weekend.  And perhaps a little less known to the public at large, our road trip is just a few weeks away. There is a connection between these two events, in that one of our stops is at our friends' horse ranch in Oklahoma.

Unlike every young girl in the free world, I did not grow up liking horses. We lived in the country on a farm/ranch with every manner of animal and fowl, including those of the equine variety.  Red's (my Dad) idea of buying a horse was to go to the local auction and pick out a little filly...trailered in from right off the Nevada desert. Wild.  Green broke.  He would then hire a trainer (I use the term loosely) who would further "break" her, and supposedly after a few months, she would be ready to ride. Yea, right.

Bergie or Spider..can't remember which:)
According to Red, the only true purpose of a horse is to pack a deer out of the canyon.  The idea of a pleasure horse for the kids to ride was never a priority.  These wild eyed Nevada range horses never really calmed down. You could get a saddle on one, but even my Dad had trouble trying to herd his cows into the pasture. I had some experience with riding a horse prior to "Nevada Sal" (I've repressed her real name, I guess) but it was not exactly positive.  My uncle owned a gigantic Morgan named Spider.  And as the name indicates, he was very tall...perhaps 16 hands in horse lingo.  Spider knew that I was afraid the minute I got on his back, and off he'd head for the nearest tree with the low hanging branches. Yep, did not like that horse.

Nevada Sal also smelled my fear.  She had a propensity for finding every barbed wire fence with a blackberry patch on the other side.  She start that trotting thing that horses do, despite my efforts to rein her back...and of course, when one trots toward a fence, one must stop. Nope, didn't like that horse either. Not to mention that during one of her famous sideways trots, I think I lost my virginity on some protruding iron thing on the back of the saddle. Hated that horse. Nevada Sal gave way to milder gentler horses later on, but I never really got over the cold sweat of fear.  Even old Bergie knew I wasn't a horse person and had a mind of his own: he like to trot up to closed gates. Ugh.

Despite my childhood horse traumas, I don't believe there is a more beautiful animal.  Though I am not a rider (go figure!), I truly appreciate their majestic stature, powerful movements and stunning coats.  I love to watch the Derby each May - race horses are particularly beautiful to watch. Our friends breed and show quarter horses and theirs are among the world's finest.  At Strom Ranch there is an abundant supply of these magnificent creatures, but the little colts are my favorites - probably because they seem harmless:)


Charmed Spirit
A few years ago on one of our road trips, we went to Churchill Downs, just to see it. Someday, I would love to actually see the Derby in person...wear a giant hat with flowers and netting...sip a mint julip.  But for now I will have to get my horse fix at Strom Ranch: sitting on the other side of the white fences, taking in the the aroma of alfalfa, sipping a nice chardonnay.

Laurel.  "Save a horse...ride a cowboy"

20 comments:

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    1. Thanks for visiting - I joined your blog because the photos of your kids are absolutely stunning.

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  2. Mrs. Chatterbox has wanted a horse since she was a little girl. No! No! No,

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    1. Like I said, Stephen, every girl likes horses.. All my frineds in grammar school read horse stories...and I read Nancy Drew!

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  3. I would go to the derby just to wear one of those delicious hats!

    Pearl

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    1. Me too! Thanks for visting Pearl - Have a great weekend! Laurel

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  4. A little known fact about me is that I actually had horses for a few years when I was younger and agree with your sentiments completely. They are beautiful, beautiful creatures. I also would love to see Churchill Downs. The dirt on the ground probably costs more than my car!

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    1. Ditto for the hats.. Lots of $$$$$$! Have a good day Abby!

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  5. How refreshing to know that I am not the only girl/woman who does not need a horse or to ride a horse. Did that a couple of times at summer camp and ending up under the belly while the horse is galloping wildly away from the group with no regard for me and my fears did me in forever. My daughter raised horses for a while...not for me. Now wearing a fancy hat and sipping mint julips while wagering on the derby could be just the ticket for me...where did I put my Sugar Daddy? Blissful Derby weekend...

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    1. Yea...where are our sugar daddies???!!!! LOL!

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  6. What an amusing tale. I don't blame you for disliking horses. The only horses I have any real experience of were farm animals, when I was a boy. Big shire horses, that seemed about twenty-seven feet high. The 'land-girl' who was billeted with us used to take me to help her at the farm. Got my foot stepped on once - couldn't walk properly for a couple of weeks.

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    1. Ouch!!!!!!!! Also, I never understood the attraction of the rodeo bucking broncos...that's what I thought I was on every time I saddled up...which wasn't very often.

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  7. This is such a great piece of writing. You have written it with such skill and the reader can experience every moment you describe. A great read.

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    1. Thank you for your very kind words. I do love to write...hence the blog, huh?! Laurel

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  8. I love how your memory didn't exactly turn you into a rider, but a lover of such a genuine creature, one that has been trained in so many ways.

    This is a lovely blog!

    ps~It's wild to find someone who lives in a town I lived in just a few years ago. My husband was raised in the Fair Oaks area. Anyway, I think it's wild! :)

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    1. Totally wild - I visited your blog, became a follower!

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  9. Love this! My only memory of riding a horse ended with falling off said horse and experiencing getting the wind knocked out of me.

    I also referenced blackberries in my response to this prompt!

    Glad I visited you :)

    deborah

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  10. I was a typical horse-mad girl but didn't get a chance to ride until I was an adult and old enough to know the dangers. That must be why I so rarely find myself on a horse that will do what I want. They either sense my nervousness or they know I'm a overly indulgent "look at the pretty horsie!" gal.

    Thanks for sharing your memories!

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  11. You are going to love visiting the Strom Ranch. Judy and I were there a couple of weeks ago and got to watch the mares and their babies led out to pasture on a beautiful spring morning.

    Bill

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Thanks for visiting my blog. I appreciate all those who share and leave their comments very much. Laurel

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