Wednesday, October 24, 2012

So Much Better

What a shot in the arm.

I should have fessed up a year ago.

Have to warn you, I'm not particularly affectionate, known to be a little cold, am actually quite frigid on the outside, pretty warm and lively on the inside.

I'm not much of a hugger, ask the kidlette, who, by a wicked, torment-her-mom twist of fate, was and still is, the huggiest, snuggliest sack of bones you have ever been elbowed by.  Karma has a sense of humor is all I can say.  I appreciate all the cyber hugs, even if I did get all stiff and constipated looking.

Thank you so much for the boost, forgive me if I get all awkward and shy, I'm much more verbal on the 'puter than I am anywhere else. I appreciate you all.

Got another gift from your supportive comments.
Check out this blog!

The Wanderly Wagons -

Talk about living the dream, I'm having a blast reading through the adventures of Martine and Anne.

New terrain, unfamiliar tack and lingo, breeds of horses I haven't seen before, lots of dogs and a couple of great friends, what else could anybody want?

Meet Jay

We were watching Clare work the little hinny. She rode without stirrups, knees bent and snug against the swell, and still her crazy long legs hung barely two inches above the ground. When the big-eared, bug eyed, quick footed hinny cut right or left, the side of Clare's boot would drag in the dirt.

"I need to get me a midget," Jay said.

"You need what?" I asked.

Clare snorted and started to laugh, the hinny skittered across the round pen and broke into a quick legged little lope. The sturdy, pony-sized critter, the hybrid of a stud horse and a jenny, settled quickly. So far, she had been a quick study.

"God Jay, PC much?" Clare asked him. "What you need, is a saddle with a cinch that fits a hinny." She jerked her hips back and forth to show how much slack there was in her cinch. The only thing holding the saddle on was a jerry-rigged britching and breastcollar. There was a lot of faith being put into baling twine.

"I don't mean anything by it, I just need to get me a midget," Jay repeated.

"Why in the world would you need a midget?" I was hooked.

"To start colts.I mean, look at Clare sitting on that little thing. She looks ridiculous. "

"You're crazy Jay."

He pushed back his hat and folded his arms across the top rail of the round pen. Jay is not a tall man, but his hard, ropy muscles and prairie bred leanness give the impression of height. He has a pleasant face, lined from a life in the unforgiving Colorado sun, and a ready grin. The owner of the barn where I stable my horses is quick to tease and stoic in his work, a typical cowboy and rancher. Where Jay is unusual is in his ability to survive as a horse and cattleman in today's fast changing world.

"I've been looking for a midget for twenty years," he continued. "I don't mean one of those lumpy ones..."

"Jay!" Clare said as she trotted past, "What is wrong with you?"

"Nothing!" Jay looked wounded. "I just mean I need one built like a regular person, but real small, so he could ride."

"Why don't you go down to Pueblo and hire a jockey?" I asked.

"Too much attitude. Those boys think that just because they can stand on a horse they know something. Think about it, those midgets can't weigh more than fifty, sixty pounds, right?"

My good mare, Madonna, shifted her hind feet and played with the roller in her bit. She had her eyes fastened on the hinny, the not-quite-a-horse fascinated her.
Theoretically, I was sitting on her in the indoor while Clare got in her second ride, to give the hinny the comfort of another four-legged creature. In reality, I was watching over my daughter. She might be twenty-one, and better at starting a colt than me, but I still liked to be around for those first rides.

"You can find kids that ride and weigh the same," I said.

"Sure you can, but they're kids. If I had a midget, why then I could have an adult's mind and hands on my horses, without the weight. I could start my colts as yearlings, and by the time they were three, well, they'd be so broke it would be like riding a five-year-old."

"I think you do fine starting them the way you do."

"The market calls for them being a lot more broke at two than mine are."

We watched Clare transition the hinny to a walk, then a trot, then back to a walk with her seat. When the hinny stopped, Clare sighed and picked up her reins, putting a little pressure on the bit. Within seconds, they were tussling over backing a step. I would have waited a few rides to ask for that step, but I shut up. Her way of doing things seemed to work for her.

"Yours are still sound when they're ten," I said.

"That's my point, Janet, if I had a midget I could have the best of both worlds."

The hinny finally backed one grudging step and Clare released her reins, rubbed the sweat slick neck and went to step down. The saddle slipped and the hinny started to pitch before Clare got her leg clear. She slid back into the saddle and tried to yank it back in place with her weight. It didn't want to go.

The hinny bogged her head and cut loose.

"Clare, why don't you go ahead and step off?" I asked in a low, steady voice. My heart beat was calling for a shout, but I knew there was no help in that.

She didn't answer, she was busy. The britching had come loose and the saddle was up and over the hinny's withers. Two more good bucks and the whole package, saddle, Clare and a lot of bright orange baling twine, came off over her head. The hinny shook free, and spun away from the whole mess. Clare sat in the dust, looking confused, still sitting square in the middle of her saddle.

"Well shit," she said, "we were just about done." She stood up, dusted off her seat and went to catch the wide-eyed hinny. "Jay, I'll get her rode again, but I'm not riding her after today unless you get a rig that fits her."

Jay stared at her for a few seconds, I could see the wheels turning while he tried to figure a way around her argument. He finally shook his head and stomped out of the arena. Dust puffed up around his feet, hiding his boots, leaving a trail hanging in the air when he stepped into the sunlight.

"I'm telling you, I need to get me a midget."


  1. Mugs,
    Love the new picture!

  2. Man, that reminds me of my dad! He refinishes pianos, and he's always said he wants to hire a Pygmy to do the legs!
    And about hugs- My family tortures my husband with lots of hugs. He's fine with hugs from me, but that's about it. The look on his face the first time my dad wrapped him in a full bear hug is one of my most treasured memories! My husband's learned to adapt (bless him), but I can't say he's comfortable with hugs, nor will he ever be. That's OK, though, 'cause we'll always have that harmlesss thing to tease him about. :)

  3. I love the updated photo as well.

    I get the whole "This is a Hug Free Zone" thing too.

    Glad that you were able to take that step forward into the light.

  4. I have "spatial issues" - as in I don't like most people "in" my space. So yeah, hugs.

    Loved the story. You couldn't pay me enough $$ to start a colt. Ever.

  5. Love Jay! Think I've met him before, ha! What a crack up.

  6. BEAUTIFUL TRAIL – I sure wish I had me one of those! I can relate not a hugger, other than the animals either. Hoping someday you have the inclination to write a book as your stories are completely mesmerizing and you have a wonderful way of telling a story that puts the read right there with you every hoof beat of the way.

    Many cheers Mugs!

  7. He could have a pretty good idea goin' there ;~)

    Good choice on your header photo!

  8. Wow, thanks for the mention for the WanderlyWagons! 250 hits today - a new record!! I hope everyone enjoys reading our adventure as much as we enjoyed living it.

    You really read every single comment that was posted, cos mine was well down the list!
    I am so glad you're not quitting the bloggosphere just yet, looking forward to checking in with you regularly now.

  9. Doesn't it feel better to get things off your chest and out there?? Thanks for trusting us enough and yourself to let us know!

  10. LMAO. I have a similar story with a pony. I was young, breaking mu third one. The only saddle I had that fit the pony we had to tie the cinch up with yellow polypropylene rope. I do remember that pony trying to turn me into a lawn dart a few times, I am sure due to the bad saddle and rigging. Today he's a trustworthy mount for any kid. I guess I did something right LOL!

  11. "...even if I did get all stiff and constipated looking."

    Yep. I do this too.

    Ain't the internet great?

  12. Ha, I'm 5'1" and weight 110 so I'm waaaay too big to start colts for your guy! My colt breaking days are over! I know that feeling of watching your kid on a horse and how nerve wracking it can be, and my kid is no daredevil.

    Love that new picture. The blog you linked to - more pix of the view from between the horse's ears - great stuff. My new goal is to get each one of my horses out on the trail. I miss it so much.

    Sigh... Yeah I'm one of those annoying huggers. But at least I know not everybody is. The critters though, all bets are off, they get mauled daily!

  13. Mugs-
    I understand the hugging thing. I like hugs, my mom is just like you-A big honkin' "No touch" sign. My dad had to order her to hug me when I'd done something right as a teenager.
    But would you know it, I popped out a grand child for her, bright and golden and giggly, and she can't get enough of that kid. (On a moment of honesty, neither can I!)

  14. Heidi -- How did I know you were a hugger?

    Or as I call it, "personal space challenged?"

    Horses don't count when it comes to hugging. Although Odin is my hugger, Madonna is just like me.

  15. Wow - is it that obvious!!!

    Phoenix is the cuddliest horse I've ever had which is good since he gets hugged by ten yr old girls for a living!

  16. I too am a hugger. I love to give and receive hugs. I know there are a lot of people that don't hug and I respect their space... but I don't understand it even though I can live with it. I just send those people mind hugs. A hug a day keeps depression away.

  17. Jay sounds like a hoot.

    I'll hug some of the people some of the time, but what really bugs me are close talkers. The ones that step right in to within 1 foot of you. Then when you take a step back they take another step in. So creepy. Doesn't really happen to me any more, more when I was younger and cuter I guess, or maybe it is just that I am surrounded by engineering students now, and they are just awkward in a totally different way!

    It is super cool having you back around a bit.

    Cyber high five (instead of hugs).