Sunday, September 18, 2011

Horsing Around

This weekend was particularly wonderful with Jie Jie. I had a half-formed plan to attend a sewing/craft expo, but wasn't too attached to the idea. We got up late on Saturday morning and stopped in at my fencing club to catch up on the latest news. While we were there, a man came in for the first time, new to the area, and wanting to start fencing. He turned out to be a race horse trainer. His job is to "train the babies" or yearlings and get them ready to take a jockey. My daughter asked to see the horses, which of course was impossible as they were not with the man. But it got me thinking... Why not go on a horse hunt and head into the nearby canyon where I have driven past several horse businesses. We were both excited and 25 minutes later past a place with riders in the arena. We stopped and they let us enter and we had a couple hours of meeting about 50 horses, a few riders, a hilarious chihuahua puppy and we even got to feed some horses some apples off our palms, something I'd always been too chicken to do as a child, but craved to do as an adult and watch a horse have a shower. One rider mentioned a horse show happening on Sunday at a nearby arena, so today we packed a picnic lunch, a bag of apples from our tree for the horses and, after a little church, went out and watched some horse jumping.

Everyone was very friendly and gave me some pointers on how best to feed a horse an apple. It involves some serious bravery since one must get close enough to the horse to feel some lips and teeth on the palm, but I still have all ten fingers I started out with!

Jie Jie even got to sit on a ribbon-winning horse and take a little walk on him. She was scared, but still did it. The horse was bareback so I think when it started to move and Jie Jie felt the rippling muscles beneath her, she got nervous. I explained how she needed to move with the horse and she did great!

The white sweetie below is named Mac 'n Cheese. It's amazing how popular one is with the horses when carrying a plastic bag full of apples. I had no idea, but they were head butting me like a dog eager for a scratch on the head. It's a little scary when the really big horses do this. I mean, their heads are as large as my torso. Of all the competition horses, I thought the black one with the white "paint spill" over the back was the prettiest.

What made this weekend special was that we ended up having this much fun because of Jie Jie. It was so easy to say, "Sure, let's go find some horses," and drive off and have such a wonderful adventure. I hope that when she's grown, she'll remember this weekend fondly, not so much because of the horses, but because she has a mom who let her pick her own adventure and see it through.

Sam is quite a tolerant cat. He often finds his naps disturbed when a certain little girl covers him up with his favorite blanket, adds a music box, a stuffed animal, and tucks him in. Good fellow that he is, he just yawns and falls back to sleep.

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