The other day my friend Russell was telling me a story about how his girlfriend’s town-raised brother fell off his new horse.
Russell is one of my cowboy buddies, ranch born and raised, has done nothing except cowboy his entire life, it is what he is. He is exactly how one pictures a cowboy; long, lean, rugged, weathered face, worn boots, handlebar moustache, dusty cowboy hat, faded wranglers, and his drawl is so soft, he can barely be heard……….when he speaks, which is not often. Unlike best guy friend D. who’ll yak your ear off given the chance.
Russell came out and we looked over Scooter. I wanted his opinion on treating Scooter’s arthritis a better way or something different than what I’ve been doing. An objective opinion always helps.
Russell’s story about the city boy made me recall something that happened to one of the ‘boarders’ we had in N.MI.
The new boarder was a brand new horse owner. Linda had no inclination to learn about horses, she thought she already knew what she needed to know. Anyone around horses knows that it is a continuing education-not something you ‘just know’.
Linda was 24 years old, 5 years older than best friend L. and I at the time, she was married to a real jerk who had some money and they had a 5 yo son.
Linda had bought a coppery sorrel gelding named Clipper, he was a nice horse. I rode him a few times and he rode quite well.
When Linda first showed up at the barn, she was wearing sockless slip on Keds, shortshorts, and a t-shirt. Best friend L. and I told her she’d be much more safer and comfortable if she wore jeans and definately boots in the future. Linda just nodded her agreement.
She owned boots, because the day she bought them, she stopped by the barn to show them off……the only time the boots made it to the barn.
The next time Linda showed up to ride she was wearing tennis shoes(no socks, her trademark) with her jeans. As she was saddling Clipper, he stumbled sideways, and promptly flopped a big hoof on Linda’s toes. Linda screamed bloody murder, shoved Clipper off her foot, and examined her damaged big toe.
Best friend L. and I both said, “wear boots!”
The next sockless tennis shoe fiasco happened when the farrier came to visit. Sometimes Clipper did not like to be caught. My horses are easy catches and it was not my responsibility to chase Linda’s horse around the pasture last minute. We’d been thru this before, if the farrier is shoeing/trimming your horse, you be there and handle it. I also had a full time job that I was needing to leave for in minutes.
As Linda is chasing after Clipper with a lead and halter very much resembling a huge lioness chasing a gazelle on the African Plains. She steps wrong and twists her ankle. Linda then lays in the field until I go see what her problem is.
Again I tell her, “wear boots dammit!”
After Linda’s sprain heals, she comes back to the barn to ride Clipper who has been rode regularly on the trail while she recovered. He went beautifully on the trails. He really was a lovely trail horse despite his owners complaints.
So, best friend L. was working her colt on a lunge when Linda returned from her ride. She was walking..more like limping and leading Clipper. Her foot slipped in the stirrup and her leg sustained a huge, bloody scrape.
Linda was lucky on that day she did not get dragged to her death…..
L.’s response, “wear boots!”
The final episode of Linda’s tennis shoe riding was on a trail ride with L. and I. Linda begged to come along and we gave her the excuse she probably would not have fun with us but she insisted so we told her okay, “ride at your own risk.”
That summer, L. and I had been working long hours. We ditched our at-the-time boyfriends and a good keg party for this ride we had planned. The last thing we wanted was someone tagging along worse than a 3 yo brat.
Linda showed up in her now famous sockless tennis shoes. She was also wearing cut offs. L. and I just shook our heads.
We went on our ride. We came to what L. and I called our ‘running hill’ It was a large sandy hill on a 2-track lane that we always ran our horses up as fast as they could go. Then we’d all out gallop on the sandy 2 -track for a mile or so. We warned Linda about our impending race so she’d be prepared. We galloped off and raced up the hill and down the sandy road.
I saw Linda pass me on clipper at full stetched gallop. She was barely hanging on and bouncing all over her saddle. Her reins flopping wildly, she had no control over her horse.
I eased my horse up to avoid trampling her should she fall off in front of me which I was surely believed she would eventually do. L. was in front and she kept going straight instead of turning because she glanced back and saw Linda flopping around in her saddle . Clipper did not follow and made a swift Left turn down another trail. Linda did not make the turn. Instead she did a superman fly thru the air, bounced and rolled to a stop in a cloud of dust, all the while screaming her fool head off. Being behind her, I viewed the whole thing in what appeared like slow motion. It was all I could do not to laugh hysterically.
L. stopped and went to see about Linda’s well being and I chased after and caught Clipper before he made a beeline for home or worse, the highway.
When I returned, Linda was still laying in the trail, her ankle swelled up the size of her thigh and turning all kinds of black/blue/ bloody red.
One look and I knew it was broken, a bad break (tib/fib).
L. and I looked at eachother and said in unison, “should have worn boots.” instead of commenting about her poor riding ability.