Horse Stories, My Horse, Missy, My Horse, Roo, My Horse, Rose

The Story of Rose

Horse StoriesThe quality that first attracted me to my beloved horse Rose, was her spirit. She came to me, a five-year-old mare, a Leo horse with racing blood running through her veins. I was introduced to her one fall night, when a friend of mine wanted to ride. My current steed, a gentle, well-seasoned ex-show Quarter Horse, TJ, was suited perfectly for her riding abilities. I, on the other hand, needed a horse to ride, so I asked the stable owner if he had a horse that needed exercise. It just so happened they had the perfect horse, a sweet little mare that needed attention. I jumped at the opportunity.

By the time I saddled TJ, the sun had already set, so we led him from the stables to a lighted arena outside. The air was cool and crisp, our first reprieve from a brutal summer filled with extended months bearing temperatures reaching three digits. I settled my friend upon TJ, started her in a steady walk. Looking up and saw a beautiful chestnut Quarter Horse mare with a white blaze being led to me. Lifting myself into the saddle we set out after my friend.

Rose was a powerhouse, full of pent-up energy, which the cool night air only fueled. Understanding her need to open-up and stretch her legs, I allowed her freedom as we hacked around the arena. The warm-up only fed her passion to run and so, after a few minutes of posting her lovely trot, I allowed her to pick-up a canter—and what bliss! She ran like the wind, nostrils flared, snorting with each downward strike of her front legs. I had never felt such raw power—I fell madly in love with her.

That night at home, I was in a bit of a daze, dreaming about that glorious ride. The next day I asked if I could ride her again. The stable manager said, yes, I could ride her whenever I wanted.

Rosie
My Beloved Rose

Taking Rose out into a larger pasture, I warmed her up posting, reining in her desire to run. She quickly worked up a sweat, prancing about, snorting, while I mapped out a level path where I could open her up. When I gave her the signal, she shot forth like a bullet, the wind whistled in our ears as her mighty hooves thundered. I couldn’t remember having more fun. This mare had captured my heart. What’s more, riding her sent me back to my teens with my first horse Missy, a stunning Appendix Quarter Horse mare.

Summer on Missy
Missy & Me. I was 15yrs.

Missy was my learning horse. While she grazed in the pasture I often vaulted onto her back, sending her into a tailspin to get me off. At first, I always fell, but motivated by youthful determination, I jumped back on, until I learned to ride through her bucking, my horse being as determined as me. Once the running and bucking, jumping and play was over, Missy grazed. Allowing me to simply sit on her back, which often turned into my napping on her back, sitting backwards with her smooth rump as my pillow.

Rose and I enjoyed unshackled rides too, bareback and free. She too submitted to my need to be as close to her as I could get, to use her equally ample rump as a pillow. Particularly when she became mine. Under saddle, it was a different story. That’s when we galloped across roomy fields racing the wind, feeding each other’s souls.

In all sincerity, my early pasture days with Rose consisted mainly of horse runs, rider hangs on. I thrived on the adrenaline rush she gave me. But in time, I came to my senses and started to practice disciple. Rose, of course, balked at this, but we soon grew together until reaching moments of pure precision. Oneness, where you and your horse move together in a synchronized form, like dancing.

Even when Rose was in her later years, I could see traces of her wild spirit, though she mellowed with age, into a comfortable mare I could trust with small children.

In those early days, our favorite pasture became the grazing ground for other horses. On occasion, the herd joined us in our runs. One fall afternoon, Rose and I were warming up away from the herd, working at a nice, rhythmic trot, when unexpectedly she bolted into a side step.

What in tarnation was that all about? I wondered.

Suddenly, she did it again, this time pivoting around with her ears pointed, nostrils flared, eyes wide, snorting heavily as if trying to rid herself of an offensive smell.

There to the side of us stood a little donkey, looking very forlorn and lonesome.

Rose continued to snort, staring at the donkey. I gave her a reassuring pat and signaled for her to trot forward. She sidestepped the first few steps, keeping her eye on the donkey, before easing into a nice pace, enjoying ourselves.

She bolted again, pivoting round. The donkey was following us.

Great, I thought. I positioned Rose, so she could get a better look. She merely snorted in distaste, backing up while the donkey watched, looking very rejected. I turned Rose asking her to go forward again. She did, prancing like she was walking on hot coals. The donkey trotted after us. Rose stopped, pivoted to face it and pooped, body quivering.

Finally, I had enough. I asked Rose to canter, which she willingly did, taking a commanding lead away from the donkey, who watched us from the other end of the pasture. However, out-of-sight does not mean out-of-mind! Rose held her body taunt and was skittish, making our ride unpleasant. I, on the other hand, was determined to enjoy the afternoon. I forced myself to relax in the saddle, believing the donkey was no longer a threat. Besides, it seemed a shame to waste a beautiful afternoon.

Several minutes later, I was completely relaxed. Rose too was calm and had dropped her nose to graze. Suddenly, out of the corner of her eye, she saw the donkey. It had worked its way through the woods to where we were. In an instant, Rose bolted into a full gallop, leaving me momentarily suspended in the air for a few fleeting seconds before I crashed hard to the ground. This was the first and only time Rose threw me during the twenty-one years that she was family. I sat on the ground with the donkey watching me.

Needless-to-say, I humored my horse. We never rode in that pasture while the donkey was there. Likewise, I learned that any animal other that a horse, dog, cat, bird and occasional bunny, was perceived by Rose as a horse eating monster. Oh, puddles of water too! And if I ever came across donkeys, I dismounted and led my jittery horse a wide range by.

Years later, after I had moved Rose onto my property in Collyville, TX, so she could be part of our everyday lives, another sweet little guy came into our lives. A little Arabian baby, just four months old, named Roo. Roo, unlike Rose, has always found other animals interesting playmates, such as the baby calves that resided in the pasture next to ours. He befriended them, while Rose maintained a Leery distance. Especially when a cow occasionally jumped the fence to graze in our front lawn.

Roo & Me 1
Roo as a yearling & Me in Colleyville

When I wrote this many years ago, both Rose and Roo were peacefully grazing together. I was watching them from my office window. Upon a closer look, I saw that Roo had a bird sitting contently on his back. At first, he seemed to pay no attention to it, until the bird began hopping around. Roo stopped grazing and looked over his left shoulder. Seeing the bird, he stretched his neck as far as possible, reaching his nose toward the bird. The bird hopped just out of reach. Roo switched sides, stretching to the right. Again, the bird hopped out of reach.

Amused, I saw Roo become perplexed with the bird. I went to his rescue, offering him an apple at the fence. As he trotted over to me the pesky bird flew away. I fed him the apple, giving his back a good scratch.

Rose, Roo, Me, Colleyville Garden
Roo, 7yrs old & an elderly Rose, with me

Out of nowhere, a white plastic bag popped up, carried by the wind. Snorting, Roo watched the horrific thing float by. I made a mental note to start teaching him that bags and such things as basically harmless. As if reading my mind, he snorted and nuzzled my hand, licking the apple juice from my palm. Once again reminding me of how blessed I am in so many ways. To love a horse and own them is one of my greatest gifts.

Horse Stories, Uncategorized

Lone Star Park & The Kentucky Derby

Horse StoriesMay 5th, Jeff and I joined my good friend, Julie, her husband and our other horsey friend, Tommy at the Lone Star Park, a horse racing track in Grand Prairie, Texas.  It was the day of the Kentucky Derby race and Julie and I, huge derby fans, couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate and watch the race, than at Lone Star.

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Julie & Me
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Tommy & his brother Dennis riding the horse
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Dennis, works at Lone Star

We weren’t disappointed!  Despite an enormous turnout, we found the park surprisingly  manageable.  Upon entering the park, we were greeted by a stand selling derby hats.

Regretfully, I didn’t wear mine, not being sure what to expect.  Thankfully, I love to wear sun hats.  But I’ll never make that mistake again!  Not only will I wear my hat, but my derby dress too.

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These women (a mom & daughter) looked so beautiful, I was thrilled when they said I could take their picture!

It seems there are fewer opportunities for adults to don a costume and embrace pure fun.  Derby day at Lone Star provides such an opportunity.  All around us women wore beautiful dresses, topped with elaborate hats.  Many men wore suits, with ties and pocket handkerchiefs matching the color of the woman’s dress.

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Many of the hats were very creative

There were families and friends with plenty of little ones running around.  Girls in matching sun dresses and hats.  Some of the little boys dressed to.  We saw everything from t-shirts and shorts, to attire suitable for a wedding.  And the creativity!  Some folk’s put a great deal of thought and planning into their attire, like a Halloween costume.

Immediately, after Jeff and I arrived at the park we found Tommy, then I headed straight for the rail along the front of the track.  It was such a surprise when I found the rail almost empty.  If you are a horse person, it is an absolute thrill to stand at the rail, feel the thunder of hooves, smell the horses, dirt and hear their snorts as they bolt by.

The starting gate, with 1 – 10 filled with horses.

It is also a thrill to watch the horses cross the finish line.  They’re, soaked in sweat and high-strung from anaerobic exertion.  Nostrils flared, eyes wild, veins protruding, like roadways on their lean forms.  Jockey’s riding in the back are covered in mud.  Their horses too, from the front runners hooves flicking the mud their way.

I took this video of the first race I watched.

While I ran to the rail, Jeff stood in line and bought our drinks.  He usually looks at the program and places a few bets (I’m talking a dollar or two).  He’s good at this.  On an average, he usually wins back just a little over the amount of money, we put into our visit.  Meaning the entry fee, drinks and food.  However, the lines on derby day were long, so we decided to wait.  Good choice!  Amazingly, a hour or two later the lines were shorter and Jeff was able to place his bets.

About 45 minutes before the Kentucky Derby Race took place, we sought out the paddock area, where they saddle and show the race horses before the jockeys ride them to the track.  Amazingly, the area was almost clear.  We were able to set up chairs in the shade with a clear view of the large outdoor screen that would show the race.

For horse people, the excitement preluding this race is equivalent to the excitement one feels just before a concert, when your favorite performer is about to walk on stage.  I couldn’t help myself… Bounding from my chair I quickly went to the front of the rail, where I could see and hear the screen better.  Several other people were doing the same.  We grinned at each other with a knowing understanding… the short moments of this race are one of a horse lovers favorites.  For me, it’s not just about winning, although that is the icing on the cake, it’s about the majesty of the horse.  It’s power and grace in full motion.  Filling me with continues wonder, over how a small girl can harness that power and ride such a beast.  Moment’s later Julie was by my side and the race was on…

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The Kentucky Derby Live!

The icing on the cake was ours… JUSTIFY won!  As is often the case, Jeff won the exact amount of money, we had put into our visit.

After the race, we collectively left Lone Star and headed back to Fort Worth for dinner.  Next year, I’ll proudly wear my derby dress and hat.  Allow myself some of that fun we adults don’t get very often; at least not in public.  On the other hand, on the top of Julie’s and my bucket lists, is actually going to the Kentucky Derby… Humm….. I already have my hat and dress!

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My derby dress & hat, accompanied by my cat, Allie

If you enjoyed this post, check out my post on the Kentucky Derby party I hosted.

Lone Star Park is a great place to bring the entire family!  If you’re visiting Dallas, Fort Worth, Arlington or an adjoining city, consider going to the park.  Wear plenty of sunscreen and sun hats.  Come hungry, because there’s hotdogs, pizza, nachos and other such finger foods.  If you prefer air conditioning and a little more upscale menu, make a reservation for a table upstairs, where you can watch the track.

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The tables upstairs allow you to eat your meal in the comforts of air conditioning, while watching the races.

For more information: (972-237-1197)   www.LoneStarPark.com

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