Robert (gurdonark) wrote,

tales of the range

Today I got a call from my 11 year old niece, who lives in Arkansas. This Summer she has taken to horse riding with a vengeance. When I was a kid, I rode once in a while, because my late grandfather was kind enough to keep some shetland ponies and an old, large riding horse or two. I am comfortable in the saddle with an easy horse, and also am comfortable while being peeled from the saddle against a tree by said horse or jostled off during a canter designed specially by the average tamed but not vanquished riding horse for the purpose of shedding riders, in the way of amateur horsemanship. I must admit I remember and savor, a bit, the sound of a boy's body thudding to ground after being unhorsed by a horse. But I do not think one could truly call me a rider, and I have not ridden for decades.

My niece has already become rather a rider. I did not chronicle here in elaborate detail her triumphs at the barrel race, although that day also included the delectable tale of being an actual prize-winning "goat roper". But today, my niece entered a form of horse race called an "extreme horse race", which involved riding up and down hill, through a waterfall, and through various other horsey challenges.

She did well enough--in a field of 24 adults and 2 children, she finished fourth. I have a picture of her with her trophy, wearing a cowboy hat and riding boots.

She assured me that fourth place was much better than first--because the first prize was only a belt buckle, and fourth was a trophy 3 feet tall. Perhaps the next time she comes to Texas, we will go riding. Note to self: find an outlet store, to replace discarded cowboy boots.

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