by Laura Crum
I think what we sometimes forget when we have horses is the idea of having fun. There is more to horses than having fun, of course. We need to care for them responsibly and we grow to love them and grieve when they are hurt or come to the end of their lives. Sometimes our “fun” is just the joy we feel when we walk down to feed our horse and he nickers (and that is a very real form of fun). But I think most of us have, at some time or another, connected to the delightful form of fun that one feels when riding a horse. Not the thrill of competition or the struggle/joy of training, but the simple, pure fun in being carried by the horse in those moments that are free of anxiety or the worry over whether one is doing it right. Just the plain old fun of horseback riding. I think we sometimes forget about that fun when we get caught up in all the other elements of horse ownership.
I got reminded of this the other day when we had our first practice roping of the year. We didn’t do much, just gathered the cattle and put them through the chutes and started teaching them how to be roping cattle. Maybe ten of us, all horseback, in the spring sunshine. It was a blast. Just being on our horses, moving cattle—nothing fancy. The fun of riding with friends.
So today I’m going to post a few photos showing the fun we’re having, and what I’m hoping is to inspire others to take a quick moment to think of the pure fun you can have on your horse—despite the goals you maybe haven’t yet achieved, or the issues you sometimes face. Because horses are FUN. (I know that not everyone can chase cattle, but just riding down the trail or in the riding ring on your good horse—with friends or solo—can be lots of fun, too.)
Here we are, getting ready to ride at my uncle’s place. My son is holding Sunny so I can take my horse’s photo. Do these horses look relaxed or what?
Below you see me and Sunny leading the way down the hill through the forest.
Here my son has pushed the cattle out of the forest and is following the other guys up the hill to the corrals.
My kid and his horse, Henry, are chasing a fresh steer down the arena to the stripping chutes.
And here they are, along with our friend, Mark, and Coal, bringing the roping steers up the alley.
Now, nothing too terribly exciting is happening in any of these photos. We are walking or trotting in all of them, though we do chase the steers at the high lope from time to time. Our horses are, as you can see, relaxed and quiet. Nobody is worried, nobody is doing anything that requires much skill or training, either. Pretty much any halfway competent rider on a broke horse could do what we are doing. And we’re all, horses included, having fun. I think that sometimes we can get so caught up in what we’re trying to accomplish with our horses, and the goals we are striving for, that we forget to relax and have fun.
If you have a halfway gentle horse you can enjoy walk/trot/loping in the spring sunshine. It’s a sort of fun that most of us CAN have with our horses, even if we’re not up for jumping big fences, or riding 50 miles or don’t own any cattle. I try to remember this whenever I feel jealous/envious of what others are doing with their horses. The main thing (other than being a good, responsible owner) is to have fun.
And finally, the last of my eight out-of-print books, “Forged,” is now up on Kindle for 99 cents. “Forged” is a fun, mostly upbeat book—yes, it’s a murder mystery, so someone has to die, but the victim is your classic always-late, womanizing horseshoer, so the crime isn’t all that tragic.
Here’s a quick summary.
FORGED: Gail’s horseshoer is shot in her barnyard, while shoeing her horse, embroiling Gail in the ensuing investigation. No shortage of suspects in this crime, and unfortunately Gail is one of them.
And here’s the link to buy Forged on Kindle.
Also, there is a little “prank” in this book. Something I put in to amuse myself. So far no reader has mentioned it to me—perhaps no one has noticed. Or perhaps some have noticed and just been too polite to call it to my attention. But for those of you who are reading the series in order, see if you find anything odd about a certain scene in Forged.
And there are still two more opportunities to acquire the last four titles in my mystery series for FREE. Simply email Susan Daniel at firstname.lastname@example.org with your snail mail address and your agreement to review all four books on Amazon.
I’ll be on vacation next week, so no Weds post from me. But true to my word, all of the first eight out-of-print titles in my mystery series are available on Kindle for 99 cents by the end April, just as I promised. Here’s the link to buy them. The order is Cutter, Hoofprints, Roughstock, Roped, Slickrock, Breakaway, Hayburner and Forged.