Horse Memories

I was working through my father's filing cabinets (he never saw a piece of paper he didn't have to save!), and found old newspaper clippings.  A 1938 copy of the Roosevelt Rough Rider high school paper was a real gem. Anyway, I was reading old clippings, trying to figure out why he saved them, and there were the usual investing advice columns, how to protect your identity online, how to graft fruit trees, how to save your bees from hive rot (no kidding), and a ton of how-to articles. My dad figured he would do anything if he read up first, LOL. And he was right.

In between all these how-to articles were some clippings from the Leavenworth, Kansas, newspaper about horse shows at Ft.Leavenworth. My 15 and a half hand Quarter horse mare and I showed in novice hunt classes (we were both beginners),and dad saved every single article where our names were listed. She was a flashy red roan with four white stockings and a white blaze down her face, and let me tell you, she was as sassy as her coloring. A true redhead in temperament. We were quite a pair, I can assure you. Most of all, we had fun. What more can you ask for when you're a teenager?

I began reading the lists of event winners, and remembered quite a few names. Of the horses, that is, LOL. They stuck in my brain long after the names of their riders/owners.  One of them, Box Canyon, was an elegant, long-legged bay thoroughbred mare who was the dream of every rider in Kansas. She floated over jumps, had exquisite manners, and made any rider look wonderful. All you needed was quiet hands and a light touch, and she won. Everything.

Today I can see that learning the ropes with a young horse was perfect for a young girl. We mastered our skills together, if it can be said we mastered anything. Probably not a lot. We both loved a flat-out gallop, and I still remember the time we raced down the edge of the small air field, hit the earthen barrier at the end, she swerved left, and the saddle flew off to the right, taking me with it. I certainly checked my cinch after that!

Those horse-memories will be with me forever. They were alien creatures with incredible beauty and complicated natures.  And I still wish I'd gotten to ride Box Canyon, just once.