Saturday, September 15, 2007

Adventures for Rachel and Grandma and Arabian Horses at the St Jude's Children's Hospital Ride Part 6

Part 1
Unfortunately, the turnout for the ride was small. As much as we had wanted to raise a bunch of money for St. Jude's, this wasn't going to be the year. Most of the riders who did show up were Daffodil board members and a few friends.

Crystal had come all the way down with her son, Gavin, and two horses to search for Dandy. They had given up their plans for the day figuring they would be combing the woods for our missing horse. There was no way they were going to make it to do what they had originally planned so they decided to stay and do the ride. It turned out that one of the other riders was Crystal's neighbor she had been wanting to meet so they rode together in one group and got acquainted.

We had advertised the ride as first rider out at 8 am and last rider out at 11 am. We offered a pancake breakfast and hot dogs for lunch for a donation in the clubhouse. All riders checked in there with their forms and releases for the ride. So part of the time the riders were out on the trail we spent at the clubhouse keeping track of number of riders and times out etc so we knew how many riders we were monitoring.

During this time a woman showed up with her donation envelope. She had raised over $300 for St Jude's but then had had a stroke. She was unable to ride but still wanted to be sure that the funds she'd raised made it to St Jude's. How cool is that!!

Looking across the big open field we thought we had seen all of the parties return. We waited for them to check back in at the clubhouse, which most did. Most, but not all, finally we went to find out what was keeping the members of the Daffodil board. Would you believe we found those people out next to one of the horse trailers having a margarita party complete with a spicy hot artichoke dip?

Lilli and I would have crashed their party but all we really wanted was to sweep the darn trails, take down the flags and go home. Crystal was just getting ready to load up and go home when she decided to ask about leaving a horse for Colleen to ride. I have a three horse trailer, so I had room but the mare was in full blown heat. Legs is good but frankly I didn't want to deal with it. So instead I asked Lilli if she'd let me haul her gelding so she could take the mare.

By now Dandy was looking good so we all saddled up and headed out. Dandy was a different horse than he had been the day before. But then Rachel was a different kid than she had been the day before. She had been so scared about the horse being lost she had gotten over being mad.

We started off down the trail with Legs out in front. It was funny to see how cautious the horse was. His walk was about half the speed of the day before and I'm pretty sure it was because he was unsure. He wanted to keep his nose right down on the trail checking out all of the smells. It's really weird going downhill without a head and neck up in front of you but I let him smell away.

Dandy followed right behind happy and content. Behind him came Lille and the two girls with Colleen bringing up the rear. It's been years since Colleen went on her one and only big ride. She's learned a lot since then. At first she thought maybe she shouldn't be in the back but then watching what was in front of her, she decided she was best where she was. I think part of her confidence came from knowing her horse was a broke as Dandy and this was her second go round on this trail today.

We were going along pretty well, except for a few minor disagreements between the two sisters. They'd been building up a head of steam at each other over night and it was beginning to spill over a bit. I think Lilli finally moved in front of them because she was tired of listening to them bicker. I was glad I was out of earshot.

With Legs still in front we were heading down a steep hill that ended with a sharp U-shaped bridge and then a steep ascent on the other side. Just before the bottom, there's a big mound of brush that muffles the sound of the water rushing under the bridge. As we came past that mound, Legs got slammed with the noise of the brook.

The big brave stallion wheeled around and tried to charge back up the hill. Horses scattered in all directions trying to make way for the frightened horse. But I caught him in mid-stride and backed him down the hill and into a nook in the corner instructing Rachel to go by me quickly.

Up on the hill, the two sister's had trouble controlling their horses. Neither would do as instructed. The younger girl's horse refused to move while she asked him to back. The older girl's horse stepped off the edge of the embankment with both hind legs but easily maintained his balance.

This had been exactly the spot where the rider had looked over yesterday and become terrified of falling off. Today, she had met her demon head on. It all happened so fast, I don't think she even noticed. They were all too bush keeping an eye on Legs trying to figure out what might be coming next.

Dandy was great, the trail horse extraordinaire I know him to be. He did exactly as Rachel directed and calmly walked across the bridge with Legs right on his heels. I knew the Arabian horse would follow his brother. Even though his tail was tucked tightly between his legs and his butt tucked tightly under his back, he didn't rush a step. He calmly followed Dandy across the terrifying obstacle while the riders behind howled at his demeanor.

Crossing the bridge his eyes darted with each hoof sound but he stayed in tune step for step with Dandy. Once safely across the horse settled right back down. By the time we were half way up the hill you wouldn't have known anything had even happened. From that point on Rachel rode out in front on Dandy, I could almost see the darn horse smile.

The kid was happy, the horse was happy, Grandma was happy and mom bringing up the rear was happy. Three generations out there in the Capital Forrest riding the trail and chasing a dream. A pretty darn good way to end the day if you ask me. What better way to end this segment on Rachel and Grandma and the Arabian horses

OK, be warned! This is a cheap commercial. If you've noticed over to the right there is a new addition. It is my r panel. One of my blogfriends told me about zazzle and suggested I might design a few things. Since I have had requests for items with the twins I started off with a few t-shirts and other things of the twins. If there are other pictures anyone would like to see in t-shirt or another form, just let me know and I'll make it up. Hopefully this will generate some funds for my twins debt.

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  1. What a great story! I wish I had been on that trail ride with you guys. Don't you love it when you see someone overcome their fear and move ahead with confidence?! Nice that three generations could ride together, that is my dream someday when my granddaughter is big enough to go on a trail ride. My son hasn't ridden for years other then to jump on one of the horses bareback and ride around the pasture occasionally but he was a good rider in his youth days.
    That says a lot for the lady that had the stroke to send that money even though she couldn't ride. Good for her! We need more people like that!!!

  2. Glad things went well and what a wonderful idea to raise funds for the twins debt!!

  3. Love the ending! Lead horses always seem to act like it is their responsibility to know what is coming while the followers can relax, but only react when the leader shows stress. I love trail-riding. It's very stimulating to a horse's brain.

  4. LOL I can picture poor Legs in my mind. That had to have been funny to see. Poor horse.

    One of these days I'll get my boy out on the trails and see what he knows. Good story.

  5. I'm glad you did the shop! I'm heading over to take a look...

  6. midlife mom, I think it was a big thing for Ericca to deal with that fear. Hopefully, it'll help her in the future.

    I still can't get over that woman did that. What an amazing thing to do!

    equinespirit, I'm glad it all went well too, I was beginning to think I was done riding in the hills forever! lol

    I hope this does raise some funds but from the looks of it, I'm going to have to figure out the marketing. Grrrr, that is my weakpoint!

    molly, I still can't over the difference in Legs' behavior when he was the lead horse. He was so cautioius.

    lady of chaos, yes, Legs was not sure what to think!! It's really good for them to get out like that, hope you get the chance to do it with your boy.

    arthist99, thanks for suggesting the shop, I don't know if it'll make any money but it's worth a try. How do you do with yours?