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Thursday, July 12, 2012

Book Entry 162: 1983 Near Catastrophe

Larry and I were in front of our garage one afternoon admiring an antique car body.  Robin was riding her horse, Nena, on our front driveway.  She was slowly walking next to the palm trees.  For some reason, and without warning, Nena fell to her side.  Robin responded quickly enough to clear Nena’s body before she hit the ground.  Robin jumped to her feet with the reigns still in her hand.  I’ll never forget the look on her face when her eyes met mine.  Her face was an ashen color.  Within seconds of springing to her feet she staggered to the palm tree and puked. 
          We could only surmise Nena’s shoe had slipped a bit on the asphalt and she jerked.  In jerking she had over corrected her weight, lost her balance, and gone down.  It had never happened before and it never happened again. 
Even though Robin and Nena loved one another very much, even though robin knew Nena would never hurt her, and even though Robin escaped without injury I guess her subconscious was alarmed enough to know she could have been badly hurt.  The puking was over quickly.  A few tears of relief followed by many nose pats and soft words to comfort Nena.
  Larry and I tried to act as if it was not a big deal.  We didn’t want Robin to feel intimidated or lose her love of riding.  We turned our attention to the Model A body in the garage.  After a couple minutes we noticed Robin as she was swinging her leg over the saddle.  I called out to Robin telling her to be careful.  As she rode away I heard, “Okay, how long till dinner?”  
Dinner was about two hours later.  Robin took Nena for a long ride ending her afternoon brushing Nena and cleaning her hooves.  When she joined us in the kitchen the first thing she said was, “Nena’s just fine.”  After dinner, while everyone else was playing, Robin went back to sit and talk with Nena.  I honestly think Robin was trying to convince Nena she wasn’t mad at her for falling.  She didn’t want Nena’s feelings to be hurt!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Book Entry 161: 1983 Adam, Robin, and 4H

           Adam and Robin were in 4H for a couple years.  We thought it would be a good lesson to own, take care of, and show their horses.  We found a great little 4H club with a couple great leaders.  They taught the kids all the fundamentals of caring for and competing with their animals. 
          For the Christmas Parade all the kids decorated their horses by braiding their manes and tails.  They had matching saddle blankets, red bows on the tails, and bells woven into their mane braids.  It was lots of fun.  None of the kids had trouble controlling their animals and everyone successfully finished the parade.  When the kids were taking the saddles off the horses and loading them for the ride home a man dressed like a cowboy came up to us half-way scolding the kids telling them they should never tie bells to a horse.  He said they would surely be uncontrollable.  I always thought that was funny since it was at the end of the parade and the kids, as well as the horses, had finished the parade without a problem.
          We also took Adam and Robin to some gymkhana events where they, along with their horses, would compete with kids from other clubs.  Our leader insisted our kids do all the work.  They had to load and unload their own horse, they had to groom and saddle their own horse, they had to scrape the manure out of the horse shoes themselves, and they had to warm up and ride their own horse. 
Our horses were pets not thoroughbreds.  Our kids loved their horses. Unfortunately they competed with kids who did nothing but show up at the edge of the ring when their animals were prepped and ready.  They’d mount their animal, compete, and dismount handing the reigns to either a parent or someone who worked for their parent. 

   Fortunately our kids learned a lot in 4H about animal care, unfortunately they also learned sometimes people who cheat also win.  It was very discouraging to me to watch them compete in such an unfair setting.  Even so, they did each manage to win a few ribbons during those years.