When I was a kid, I had a heather gray screen printed t-shirt that I wore every single day unless it was absolutely filthy. On it was a photograph of running horses, and above it read, in that lovely ’80′s cursive: I’d rather be riding. For me it was true. I spent all my time thinking about horses, drawing them, and reading horse books (Misty of Chincoteague, anyone?)
When I was six, my brother and I got Morning Star, a Shetland pony. We kept her till we moved a couple of years later. I took riding lessons from ages 10-12 (that’s my helmet Zia’s wearing below), and when I was 17 a neighbor gave me Honey, a Palomino mare as ancient as the hills. My father is a farrier, and I would go shoeing with him every chance I got. I knew I would be an utter and total horse person when I grew up and got my own place. Heck, I’d sleep in a barn if I had to. In fact, I’d rather.
It’s funny how things change. Although I often think with a smile of that funny little horse-crazy girl I used to be, it doesn’t bother me that I never became the horse-crazy grown-up I dreamed I would. Actually, about twenty years have passed since the last time I was on a horse!
For her birthday, Zia wanted to go for a trail ride. It’s been a busy summer, but the day finally came–today. We went to Pine Cliff Stables on White Ranch in Golden. We were there three years ago for her 4th birthday, but she was too little for a trail ride, so she settled for a pony ride while David and Caleb hit the trail.
This time Cash was the little one who stayed behind with David, while Zia and I saddled up. He’s a pretty cute little guy, huh?
It was a lot of fun. My horse was named Sailor and Zia’s was Chief. Zia did fine for her first time, although her bottom kept sliding slowly to the right so she’d end up a little curved shape sitting there. Chief would shift to the side to try to stay under her, and the cowboy who led us kept telling her, “Sweetheart, slide your bottom back to the middle,” and she would promptly slide over–a bit more to the right.
White Ranch is part of Jefferson County Open Space, and is a beautiful and mountainous 5,000 acres. But very different from our mountains, it is crackly dry and home to abundant rattlers, cacti, and a troublesome mountain lion who steals calves, eats deer, and even mauled one of the ranch colts a couple of years ago. There are several private residences–mansions, really–scattered throughout the field below the trail, valued between two and seven $million each. I’m not sure I would know what to do with a 15,000 square foot house. Do you actually live in the whole thing? Or just part of it, and visit the rest?
When we rode back to the paddocks an hour later, David and Cash were waiting. Cash called for uddey sidey as soon as he saw me, but refused a ride on Sailor with me. (Offer him a motorcycle ride, and I’ll bet he’d accept.) Zia and I dismounted and ouch! walked around bowlegged for a few minutes. Once Zia was on her feet, though, her bottom finally got squared away. ;) She was perfectly happy with her birthday ride, even if it was a little late. Me too–in fact, I might have a trail ride for my next birthday. Forget the party–I’d rather be riding!