Friday, January 6, 2012

Mort, Me and the Upper Rio Grande 50 Miler

I stood off to the side and stayed out of the way while Cindy fretted over her gelding.

I wanted to be consumed with concern over the Saddlebred, but my thoughts weren't much under control.

SHE was supposed to know what was going on. SHE was supposed to have the mega-trail horse. Mort might be skinny but it wasn't MY horse standing in the creek with his eyes shut, his lower lip sagging and his respiration out of control. MY horse was chewing on my hair and looking at me with that, "C,mon. let's go see what's around the corner!" look in his eyes.

I turned my back so Cindy couldn't see my face. My eyes burned and my teeth squeaked with the effort it took to hide my anger. I didn't want to hurt her anymore than the day already had.

We ate lunch in silence, both sunk deep in our respective gloom. After lunch I saw Cindy go check her horse and then speak briefly with the veterinarian. He gestured to a group of riders sitting together on a log, deep in an animated conversation punctuated with occasional outbursts of laughter.

Cindy headed over and was soon deep in conversation with a deeply tanned woman in a baseball cap. The woman looked over at me and then scrutinized Mort. She got up, stretched and then sauntered over to the vet. He flipped through his clipboard and showed her one of the  pages. They both turned and stared at my horse again. My stomach flipped and I put a protective hand on Mort's neck.

It was bad enough I was done with the ride, but now somebody was going to yell at me, I just knew it.
By the time the woman walked up to me I was stiff with righteous anger. Endurance races stunk. It wasn't my fault Cindy's stupid horse couldn't hang. Now I was going to get chewed out for something. Somehow her horse going belly up was my fault.

"Are you Janet?" The woman asked me.

Her voice was kind and even, so I risked a quick look and peered up through my bangs at her. Her face was brown and white squint lines streamed from the corners of her friendly brown eyes. She looked pretty old, maybe not as old as my mom, but at least 40. I gave her a quick nod.

"I hear your sponsor had to pull from the ride," she said. "If you want, you can come along with me. You and your horse look pretty fit, and the vet said he has a heart beat as slow as an elephant's."

"Is that a good thing?" I asked her.

"What, riding with me or a heart like an elephant?"

"Both I guess."

"If all these horses had a heart rate like yours we wouldn't need vet checks. As far as riding with me, well, you'll just have to find out. I'm about to head out, so if your break is up why don't you saddle up and come on over."

   I saddled up Mort and noticed my hands were shaking. Was it excitement? Maybe. This lady was riding with a small group of riders that seemed to know their stuff. I was going to look like such an idiot. Mort was skinnier than any of their horses. He would easily be the rowdiest. I was going to start hearing all kinds of comments about how bad he was, I was sure. But I really, really wanted to finish the ride.

I decided to put on my "polite for the nuns" school face and ride it out. If they didn't decide I was completely useless maybe I could hang until the end of the ride.

Mort thumped me a good one with his head and jolted me awake. I was standing there daydreaming and my new sponsor and her friends were all mounted and staring at me in a friendly/impatient/puzzled kind of way. My face flamed red and I swung into the saddle and trotted over to them.

"I'm Jenny," the woman who had taken me on said and leaned over to shake my hand.

Each of the ladies introduced themselves. They were relaxed and goofing with each other. Their horses ranged from Arabs to Quarter Horses to varying mixes between the two breeds. They didn't seem to be in much of a hurry but they sure were having a good time. I didn't understand how they could be so relaxed. this was a race wasn't it? Maybe it was because they were so old.

I fell in with this odd assortment of riders and caught on pretty darn quick they had been riding together for years. Feeling very much the outsider I steered my jiggy horse to the outside and resigned myself to a long, slow afternoon.


31 comments:

Becky said...

Months.


MONTHS I have been waiting to find out how the ride ended.


And now you leave me with this cliffhanger?

I swear, Mugs, some days I just want to throw something at you. You're an evil, evil woman.

redhorse said...

Uh oh, I have the feeling the old ladies will kick your little whippersnapper butt.

Becky said...

PS: ^^^^ that comment is meant in light-hearted, good-natured ribbing type fun. I'm looking at it now and it kind of comes across really grumpy, but it's not. Just thought I'd throw that out there.

mugwump said...

Becky - Whch is why I stay in hiding...

mugwump said...

Throw what?

mugwump said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kel said...

Evil, evil Mugs and her cliffhangers!!

*shakes fist*

:D

mugwump said...

Bwah ha ha ha....

MysteryTheMorab said...

OMG I know where this is going; been there and done that although I don't think my Mystery was nearly as high as your Mort! And old, like 40 or something! Sooooooo funny! I love your stories and the only thing I am sad about is that this one too will someday end!

cdncowgirl said...

Stories like this make my think Mugs has a sadistic streak... lol

zebradreams07 said...

I agree with Becky, teasers suck!

KD said...

THANK YOU....butttt....that wasn't nearly a long enough installment! I agree with Becky.....you are a little evil.

mugwump said...

Goodness you guys are feisty lately!

Bif said...

"She looked pretty old, maybe not as old as my mom, but at least 40."

Snort, snarrttt, bwahaha!

Oh, wait, I am rapidly closing in on... HEY! Who are you calling old, anyway?!

No, really, who? I didn't hear you. .. dang hearing aids... mutter mutter
*shuffles off*

Kel said...

Bif said: "Oh, wait, I am rapidly closing in on... HEY! Who are you calling old, anyway?!"

I hear 40 is the new 28 and a half.

:D

luvredponies said...

Hey - Congrats on being "Top rated in the humor and Satire" Blogs :) I got a chuckle at the "old, like 40" comment - I resemble that remark! I also remember when I thought 40 was old, but not so much anymore since I passed that milestone 5 years ago...

mugwump said...

Hey...I wish I was still 40...

RuckusButt said...

Oh, you are SO good. I know you've said you don't do the cliffhangers on purpose and I am more than apprecitive that the creative process doesn't happen all at once and I'm SO grateful that you share these with us. That said, I think waiting actually adds to the experience of your stories (painful as it is).

If your stories were written/posted as one, I would read them "cover to cover" at once. But this way, I get to savour and think it over, re-read, and almost stop jonesing for the next installment by the time it appears :-)

Becky - I have a collection of spongy balls with smiley faces and pre-written messages for throwing at co-workers. It's safe but effective!

GreyDrakkon said...

Ooooooh! I'm with Becky, I'm going to throw something at ya! Like dehydrated marshmellows! Those things will sting if you slingshot them, I'm sure.

MichelleL said...

Jigging a bit myself, waiting for what's around the bend.....

nagonmom said...

"Maybe it was because they were so old"had me laughing and crying. You so remember kidthink! And the irony of course, is how quickly we go from new kid to old hand, and the joys and hardships in between.
I thought the ability to end on a cliffhanger took alot of skill and planning. I thought it was one of those writer's gifts I totally lack. I was envious of that ability. Don't tell me it wasa series of RANDOM events!

mugwump said...

nagonmom- it's pretty random...I find a moment and write it down, next moment, next installment.

Then I think about whiny Becky and manaical laughter fills the echoing halls...

Becky said...

Mugwump J. Chronicles, you be nice, or I'm going to take some of RuckusButt's spongy balls and throw them in your direction! Mind you, I've got a terrible arm and we do have several states of distance between us... and to be honest, I have terrible aim so if you sit still it has about a 3% chance of actually hitting you... but the threat's still there! :D

Heila said...

Kel, thanks goodness, turns out I'm 28 and a half then. And I was a teenaged mom. ;-)

Mugs, I hope your brain fires another random but sequential Mort story soon!

RHF said...

Oh Becky! I can just hear the mom tone when you use mugs whole name.. crackin' up! ;)

Mugs, I love your writing style. I tend to just want to barf the whole story out at once, but the way you let us savor each little snapshot is fantastic! Like fancy chocolates... you may WANT to eat the whole box at once, but it's better if you make them stretch.

mugwump said...

RHF - Now if I could learn to eat chocolates the same way!!!

Whywudyabreedit said...

Sounds like you got an upgrade! I sure hope it turned out that way. The friendly laughing sounds so much better than the seriousness of your initial sponsor.

Jenn said...

YAY! I was as mad as you that you were out because of your sponsor.

Anonymous said...

DITTO-BECKY

Love your writing Mugs!

deedee sonnyduo@yahoo.com said...

Mort Mort Mort!
Hurray! Thanks Janet.

AareneX said...

pleaseohpleaseohplease let this be the Right Sponsor who lures Janet to the True Faith.

and pleaseohfreakin'please would you TELL US THE REST BEFORE I DIE OF OLD AGE?!!!

WV: lambi
quiescent; IOW: what Becky and I are not feeling

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