By Cindy Hale
Friday, October 28, 2011
Is it really Halloween? Wasn’t it just Fourth of July?
Despite my muddled time frame, I can’t ignore the abundance
of Halloween decorations. They’ve suddenly cropped up in the front yards that
border the bridle paths. Oh joy. The holidays are upon us. Between the
Frankensteins, witches and tombstones of October and the giant snow globes and blow-up
Santas throughout December, the trail horses in town either get de-sensitized
or have psychotic meltdowns.
Fortunately, both of my guys are very ho-hum. They’ve long
since seen it all before.
Fortunately, Wally seems more interested in the
lush green lawn than the wagon load of Halloween ghouls in this front yard.
Yet don’t think I haven’t ridden my share of spooky horses.
Perhaps the most memorable was a bay mare we had many years
ago. Her name was Crack a Lou, and she was as cute as a ladybug and about the
size of one, too. At the time we were breeding Thoroughbreds for the racetrack,
and Crack a Lou came from a line of dependable producers. Since she was still
sound after her racing career I figured she’d make a good trail horse when she
wasn’t heavy in foal. Most of the time I rode her bareback, which made my
involuntary dismounts sleek and seamless, like some sort of equestrian ballet
movement. Rather than getting tangled in tack, I simply slid off. And it
happened quite regularly.
Back then, our horsekeeping town was very rural; no freeway,
no Target store, no housing tracts. But we did have a lot of peach-colored boulders
that popped out of the hillsides, not unlike monolithic pumpkins. Invariably
I’d be jogging along on dainty little Crack a Lou, listening to the katydids
and mockingbirds and… whoosh! She’d spot a suspicious lump of granite, spin
around and bolt in the opposite direction. I felt like a cartoon character.
First the horse is underneath me and then, magically, it’s gone! I swear I’d be
suspended for a second or two before gravity would take hold and I’d hit the
ground. Fortunately, Crack a Lou was comparable to the size of the average cart
pony, so I didn’t have far to fall. I’d dust off the foxtails, grab the reins
and a handful of black mane, and shimmy up on her back again. Then we’d ride
some more until we came upon the next bunch of menacing rocks.
I’m sure that many of you have ridden spooky horses, too.
Maybe you’re even dealing with one now. Most of these horses get better over
time, providing they’re ridden with confidence. But in the meantime we get
treated to some of the wildest tricks in the horse world. And that can be
scarier than any Halloween haunted house. Quite honestly, I ain’t ‘fraid of no
ghosts because I’ve spent plenty of time riding spooky horses.
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