Who we are.

I read once that if you’re planning on heading out on a long ride, you should chose your horses wisely. They should be good size, not too big, step out well, have a good pace, be calm of character and broke to, well, to everything, because basically that’s what you’ll encounter if you’re out there long enough.

Well, I didn’t chose these horses for this job. But they are what I have. We’re a team, one that’s been working together for two decades. Maybe they are too old for a journey such as this. Maybe I am too.

Like me, my horses aren’t the prefect specimens. They have their good points and bad. They may not be the fanciest. They may not be the fastest, or the prettiest or the ones with flash and dash. But they’re mine, I’m theirs, and we’ve been living and working together for a lot of years. Now together we’re going to give this a go and see where this journey leads us.

First there is Crow. The horse I ride and have ridden five thousand miles or so, so far. A little bay Arabian – former stallion and father of our once prolific herd we had for our outfitting business. The one I got so I could learn more. I said I wanted a challenge. That’s what I got. And through those challenging years, I got a lot of understanding, patience, and hopefully a few skills. Now he’s older, calmer, softer and sweeter. I never thought it would happen, but he’s grown into the babysitter horse. Though I don’t expect him to take care of me. I expect us to care for one another. Well.

Then there is Canela. The red mare. A solid, simple Quarter Horse without any fancy markings. Born into my arms. She’s the boss mare. She calls the shots. I listen. Hopefully well. And though she’s the boss, she’s not bossy. I swear she’s in the position by default, maybe even reluctantly, as it was her mother who was boss before her (and let me tell you, that one was bossy). Canela is chill, easy going, calm. She’s the one wearing sensible shoes. She’s the practical one. The one that finds the simple solutions. The one that keeps her wits about her. And the one that is more likely to respond rather than react, which for a horse, is good as gold. She’s the one that waits outside my house every morning like clockwork waiting for breakfast, and comes running when called if I need her. I have never known a more sensible, solid and simply good mare. Really, she’s the reason I feel we can make this trip.

Last but not least, there is Bayjura. She is the daughter of Crow and Canela. She’s the looker of the group, the people pleasure, the charmer. She’s the one that remembers everyone she meets, and if she hasn’t met you yet, she’ll walk right up and introduce herself. With a head of an Arabian, rear end of a QH, and feet of a draft horse, she’s got a solid girth, spunky spirit, and a keenness to get out there and go.

Father, mother, daughter. It was not my intention to travel with a family. It’s just how it ended up. When we retired from outfitting, the the rest of our herd was passed on, some sold, some found new homes, some passed away. We kept the ones no one wanted. We wanted them all.

See why I have to take all three? It’s not that I’ll be bringing everything including the kitchen sink and need this many horses to carry my load (though as I’m deep in the throes of packing right now, these piles look like I’ll need five more horses. Might need to do some downsizing and paring down…). And it’s not that taking three horses will make it easier, out there. In fact, there are a lot of complications to managing and negotiating safe passage for three instead of one, from brushing and blanketing, saddling and unsaddling three horses each day, picketing and picking hooves and trying to ensure adequate food and water for three rather than one. But really, I can’t take just one. They are not just a team. They are family.

My family. At least, a big part of it. And over the years, we’ve done well over a thousand miles together as a team already: Crow, Canela, Bayjura and me. Just not all at once as this trip is likely going to be.

As for me, I’m past my prime depending on what you might considered prime to be. Unless that’s prime rib, or a fine wine, in which case some things must be aged to perfection. That’s what I’d like to think, until I look in the mirror, laugh, and brush that thought away and get on with the work at hand. There is nothing perfect in all my imperfections. It’s just what I am. I’m middle aged. Nothing special. Nothing fancy. Nothing big or bold or anything beautiful. Just a wild woman with itchy feet that needs to be out there, living life loud in my rather quiet way.

Oh, and one more key player to this team, though he won’t often be out there with me. The person behind the scenes. The one that taught me cool and calm in the saddle. The one that quietly teaches the traits most essential to the horse: fairness, humility and patience. The one I will miss every night when I try sleep without my arms and legs wrapped around him as we’ve done for over twenty years together. The one that lets me.

Thank you, my love.

~ ~ ~

#horseadventure, #spiritualjourney, #wildride

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