Friday, July 27, 2012

Things That Make Me Happy

 I have horse crazy kids.
Having horses to them is such a luxury, something only "other people" get to do. Stories of my childhood are just that to them, stories. The concept that they are just one generation away from farm living, country loving, pig,goat, horses owning, oats and hay smell loving, rodeo loving genetics is beyond their scope of comprehension.
But I know better, and the origin of their love of horses is no mystery to me, it's in their blood.
Me, Taffy, and my favorite bonnet.
Getting pulled behind the horse on an inner tube, and riding w/my sis in the field.

At home w/my sis and Sweetheart and Taffy..I'm the nudist.

These are  me(orange coat), my sis, and dad at home. The top right sums up the majority of my childhood, my sis and I would ride for hours out in the woods, day after day.

The top is my sis when we where in our towns parade, bottom are me and my dad...I could ride before I could walk.

More at home.  Not a bad way to grow up, huh? On a side note, I recently found out this 6 acre property I grew up on is for sale for 50k. Kills me to not be able to snatch it up.

 Last Friday, the kids had the "best day ever!!" Our friend, Randy, takes care of a horse out at one of the ranches on Castle Rock Rd in Walnut Creek.  The concept of stables like this was foreign to me as a kid.  We had home. They were just always there, you could look out the window and there they were. The idea of being a city person and owning a horse and 'renting' a space away from home to keep it in, and then going to 'visit' it....never heard of such a thing.  Now older and maybe a bit less country, I understand that is the way the majority of people own a horse.  
Most of the local ranches are in the foothills of Mt. Diablo, who's terrain tends to look straight out of any old western movie, and is covered in trails any horse would love.
The ranch Randi's horse is at was really neat to see.  Each horse has his own grassy area and shelter and tack area.  Her horse is Finney, a 20 something yr old retired race horse (his race number is tattooed inside his lip).  He's a big boy, Randi is my height - 5ft 9, and Finney is a smidge taller than her at his shoulders.  Finney's owner comes out 5 times a week to take care of him and either ride him or "turn him out" - run him in circles in the round arena. Randi goes out one day a week to feed him, turn him out, and wash him down.
She was very kind to let us accompany her out to the ranch to meet Finney and his buddies and have some time with the horses.
As you can see, there was a fair bit of outfit planning earlier in the day.

We had a 10lb bag of carrots that I divided up among the kids, and Randi had 2 ten lb bags...needless to say all the horses had a special treat or two or three.

That's Finney w/the eye cover on.

That's Bruce w/the kids, he has worked at the ranch many years, knows all the horses by name and who was related to who. They met a horse he helped birth, and then went over and met that horses dad.  He taught the kids how to tell different breeds by the shape of the head, rump, and where the tail starts. They saw quarter horses, Appaloosas, Arabians, a mustang, and others I can't remember.

Check out that pile of ....manure.

This stunningly handsome horse is called "Dude", as in blonde surfer dude. He's a Kiger Mustang, and his coloring was all natural and amazing!

I could not get over how amazing this arena was!!

Randi w/Finney, it was time to take him and turn him out.

She let the kids come out to the center of the arena w/her. She knows Finney so well, she knew just what he was going to do. She said he'll dig for a minute, walk a lap or two, decide he doesn't want to run and then he'll roll.  Then he'll get up and canter a few laps and be done....and that is exactly what he did.

Then it was bath time.  There are two stalls, like a car wash, where you can wash your horse.

Then, an owner asked if the kids wanted to ride her horse.  You have to understand CA to know what a big treat it is to be able to ride a horse w/o a helmet.  For kids, it just does not happen, too much risk of injury, and then lawsuits.  So the kids had never been able to just get on a horse, take the reins, and ride.  The owner has young grand kids who ride this horse often, so she was very relaxed. She had carrots in her pocket, and knew the horse would follow her, so she let them have the reins and started walking.

Seriously, I have never seen him this happy! He had a grin like that the whole time, over cloud nine happy, happier than Disneyland happy!

We ended the day with super happy kids who had the best day of the entire summer.  This day will be what they remember about the whole summer, no doubt about it.  They now have dreams of volunteering at the ranches when they are teenagers.....and I have dreams of taking them out to the ranch to shovel poo the next time they misbehave....although they would probably not consider that a punishment!


  1. Ah, what a special day! I remember going out to your place as a child and getting to ride your horses, it made for some very special memories for me!

    1. Ah Megan, thanks for sharing that! My horse days are some of my favorite childhood memories!

  2. Audrey would have loved to be there to. She has a love for horses that goes very deep! I love seeing all those pica. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Ah, Beth, thanks for posting all these pics and writing about all your happy memories. You made my day! Mom