Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Riding the Trails in the Ozarks

Recently I was given some old pictures from the 80's of a day that my brother,his wife and I went horseback riding. At the time I had a Quarter-horse /Thoroughbred mare named Uriah. I stabled her down on the Finley River south of Nixa, Missouri. It was a beautiful place to ride. We could ride the back roads to a spot where there was river access, well not really river access, but more like a spot that overlooked the river valley. The ride would take approximately 1 hour to get to a lane that would take you through the woods and finally to a power line easement that crossed the river.

Once you got to where you could see the river you were probably 100 feet above on a rock outcropping. Someone had constructed a log "seat", really just a couple of split logs that you could sit and see clear across the river valley to the next road. Often you would see hawks and once in a while you could see an eagle soaring around. It was a magical place that stills holds lots of wonderful memories for me.

I can remember one ride I had taken with my younger brother Mark that we had misjudged the time and it started to get dark on us. There was a small area of woods that you had to go through along a wildlife trail.

That trail was barely visible in the daylight let alone when it was dark. Fortunately for us the horses knew the trail pretty well. I led the way, or really my horse did, I was just along for the ride because I couldn't see a darn thing! We made it out of the woods finally and I swore I would never do that in the dark again. And I kept that promise, believe me!
There were many rides we would get stuck out in the rain, sometimes even the snow. But it never really bothered me because just being out on my horse was like heaven on earth. To ride something so much bigger than you that would usually do what you wanted them to do was amazing.

I've added the few pictures I have, they aren't that great but they do elicit some wonderful memories for me. The year these were taken my mare was pregnant with her first colt. She had been left with a young stud Quarter-horse for about a month and we weren't sure she had bred, I only figured it out for sure about 3 months before she foaled. But you can tell in one of these pictures that she has a big belly. She never was a big horse, not quite 15 hands and always very slim and trim. She stayed that was because she was kind of the "nervous" sort of a horse. Not everyone could ride her because she had an attitude most of the time. But to me that was just perfect.

The dog in the pictures was Jake, my side-kick.He went on every horse back ride I took.He would follow along never causing any trouble and once in a while he would even ride the horse with me. I remember more than once we were riding along a road that had a particularly bad dog and rather than get chased and possibly in a fight, we had a stump that Jake could jump up on and then with my help he would jump up in front of me in the saddle. It was always hilarious when we passed that dog, because Jake would never fail to bark from way up there. It always seemed to piss that dog off.

I wonder why?
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