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[RC] First Step - JANUSTUDIO

The First Step  

Sometimes it is hard to find those things that actually do get better as we 
age. Mainly because those things that make us notice the changes are so darn 
inconvenient. Just when we think we have things figured out, our bodies aren't 
willing to perform the task...<g>

Being distance riders, we seem to make ourselves go beyond what most would 
endure, just to be once again on that horse and flying down the trail with the 
addictive wind in our eyelashes...
We are forever  thinking, ‘just one more season'...' ‘just one more 
horse'... ‘just one more ride!'

However, when one of those wondrous things do come along, we, as we age, do 
tend to recognize it and feel blessed. That ‘ONE THING', so Jack Palance 
say, is grandchildren! Now here is someone who can benefit from ones years of 
knowledge, such as it is. Here at last is someone who believes everyone word 
you say. Here is a tiny being that loves you without reserve, here is the next 
generation of distance riders...with energy to burn!

To those of us who have become grandparents, grand aunts or uncles, that 
blessing is nearly overwhelming! When those small booted feet finally reaches 
his/her stirrups and insists on riding without a lead line attached, then, oh 
thrill becomes a joy! Our own aches and pains fade to a quiet rumble as we 
step into that honored role as mentors.

I suppose if you've read this far, you have guessed that one of my own 
grandchildren has reached that mark at last!! I was beginning to wonder if I 
last long enough to become the person that could introduce her to the delights 
of the open trail.

The day finally came that we could actually go to a trail in our area and 
ride an actual trail. I had planned to do it this past summer, but one thing 
after another, kept us at home. We've done the ‘riding on the farm' thing, 
that isn't the same as trailering to a trail, saddling up and going out ‘into 
woods' as she refers to it. She was out of school in honor of election day, 
the weather smiled on us, the woods were beautiful, and her smiles were wide 
with anticipation. 

I had purchased a cute little Arab gelding four years ago, with just this day 
in mind. My excuse at the time was ‘One always needs a back up horse...'  I 
have ridden him a little, and found that we just didn't fit each other. Jack is 
one of those rare ‘no go' Arabs. He much prefers the boredom of the arena to 
the open trail. No matter how far you go out, his head or ear is turned toward 
the barn. If out on the trail, his mind is always in ‘lets go back' mode. He 
would happily leave his pals to do so. His gait is rough, he has a dropped 
shoulder, he's very stiff to the right, and he's had a touch of founder in his 
past.  But, he still  has feet to die for, a very sweet, very sensible 
personality, a tough little round body that can go and go. Best of all,  he 
fits Paige 
just right.

I have to say that I was probably more anxious than she was. That age 
related, experience thing... But, Jack was a very good boy, even though when he 
that Paige was actually going to load him in that trailer that the other horses 
normally go into, he refused to be lead out of the barn. Silly boy, Granny 
Jan is there too, with that awful voice of insistence...<g> This proves to me 
that when I bring home the horse that just did a ride, they actually do tell 
horses that stayed home just what his weekend was like!

We set off to pick up ‘dear and patient friend', Mary Lynn Stockdale and her 
horse Breezze.

Paige is of the age that every single movement you do is cause for 
observation and questioning. How interesting to see mundane things fresh and 
new again.

Once on the trial, it was my horse, naturally, who saw spooks in the windy 
day. I had a lead rope on Jack to get us started, but it was no time when 
everything seemed to fall into place and I took it off. Paige was smiling big 
then. We mostly walked on the easiest trail Cave Run has to offer, and Paige 
was soon asking when we were going to trot. A good sign of a future endurance 
rider if I ever heard one...
It was so cool to ‘see' the trail through new and wondrous eyes, to be the 
one to introduce her to the joys of ‘wind in your eyelashes'.
Jack did his job admirably and took care of his little rider, as we 
negotiated the trail. Paige had to do some thinking for herself, as we had to 
go off 
trail on occasion to get around fallen trees and brush. The only glitch we had 
was getting him over a fallen tree that he deemed too big to go over. Something 
we will have to work on, as even though (mean Granny Jan) got him over it, he 
did it in an extremely ungraceful manner...<g>

Paige loved the creeks, loved the trotting she finally got to do, and loved 
being the master of a wonderful little horse of her own. The day could not have 
been more perfect as we let the horses dry off back at the trailer munching 
hay, ate Mary Lynn's turkey sandwiches, drank down some water, then headed for 
the Dairy Queen to top off our day with, Blizzards!

Now of course, Granny Jan is plotting next year's ride schedule to include 
Paige's first year of competition...

Paige ~ six miles down, thousands to go....

A special thanks to Mary Lynn and Breezze, for being the back door...<g>

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