A Day in the Saddle

I first visited Texas in 1975, three years before we moved there. I stayed with Uncle Dave and Aunt Betty.
During my visit, they decided to go to Ft. Worth for her mother’s birthday. Betty’s brother Bill was a vet,
who had a ranch with some cattle and horses. She got him to take me horse back riding. How cool was this,
I would get to ride a Texas horse across the Texas Prairie.

On the second day in Ft. Worth, Bill arrives in his truck to take me to the ranch. I was ready, blue jeans
and my first and only cowboy shirt. We get to the ranch and there are two horses ready and waiting.
His sons had been there earlier and had left them almost ready to go. All we had to do was cinch the
saddles and hit the trail.

When I went to cinch mine it decided to suck wind. This is an old horse trick when it wants to make
things miserable for the rider.  I reared back and kicked him in the stomach. He blew the load of wind
and I cinched him him up. I told him, “Nice try horse, you lose.” I mounted the horse who for the purpose of this
story I will call “Silver.”  I don’t remember it’s name. The stirrups were a little low, but when I asked to adjust them,
Bill tells me no, that I should not need to have them higher. He was wrong.

I have ridden horses before this experience. All of the horses I had ridden were trained Western. Pull the reins
left or right, pull back to stop, loosen the reins to go. Texas, western, I made the assumption that Silver was trained this
way too. No such luck. I finally got the hang of guiding Silver down the trail, but since we were going straight, not much needed
to get him going. It was a nice gentle walk, so I used voice commands to get Silver to speed up. While he seemed to
understand English, he was not responding too well.

I asked Bill what was missing and he suggested I give Silver a lite kick. I gave the lightest kick I could muster and
Silver  took off like a bat out of hell. We did about 300 yards in 10 seconds flat. I hung on for dear life and finally did
what I had been taught, I pulled back on the reins. Silver went into Warp Mode. The Starship Enterprise would have had trouble keeping up. For those of you familiar with Star Trek, you know how they always showed the lights streaking to indicate Warp Speed. That’s how the cows looked to me as we flew past them.

Across the prairie we fly, I’m trying to move myself with the horse and I can’t because the stirrups are too low.
I had the reins in one hand and with the other I was alternating between holding onto the saddle and trying to keep my
glasses from flying off. There was a slight grade to the property and then a rise. Silver and I flew up that hill to the next
plateau. Lots more wide open land with a lake straight in front of me.

”Screw this,” I though, you’re not getting me all wet. I decided my only recourse was to jump. I got myself ready for the fall
off this Texas size horse. I knew I was going to get hurt. I threw down the reins and got ready to jump and Silver stops on a dime.
I thought, “What the hell, maybe broke him.” Bill finally rides up and says “Are you OK.?”  “Yes,” I mumbled.  “These horses aren’t trained western are they?”
“No. They’re trained opposite of Western.”
“Thanks for not telling me.”

I picked up the reins and turned Trigger around for home. Once I knew the controls, we had a fine time. I turned him right and left we counted all the cows, looked over the landscape, all with no issues. I did my best John Wayne imitation and horse and I finally
worked as a team. All was well, I was having fun!
Until we got about 500 feet from the barn……

Silver decided he had enough and picked up the pace. I dropped the reins down and said “Whoa!”
Silver huffed to a stop and I made him stand there a minute. Bill sits there laughing and says, “He’s hungry. Just hang on and let him go.” So Silver got his way and as we neared the barn. I almost got a leg full of corral fence. We put the tack away and rubbed down the horses. Then we fed them their evening grub. Bill noted how I did not have to be told how to do any of this. I let him know 4H had taught
me well.

We went back to the house for supper and the whole gang got to laugh at the story. Bill was sitting there and said, “I am so glad I didn’t
have to come back and tell you I killed him.” 

When we moved to Texas a few years later I got to ride a horse on Galveston Island. It was trained Western.

RV Living

My little RV survived the big storm Sunday, though it did take me a long walk to get those Munchkins to stop following me.
I was driving yesterday and a guy exiting a parking lot waved at me and used his hands to motion something opening and closing.
I just figured him as another Texas Nut.

Today, I decided to open the windows and the roof vents to air out the place. When I opened the bathroom vent it’s lid flipped over backwards. I had to tear apart the whole vent so I could get my hand out far enough to grab the lid and throw it to the ground. It was busted and ready for the trash can.

Luckily I have been staying near D&D Farm and Ranch in Seguin, Tx. They do all sorts of things including Trailers and now RV repair. By sheer luck they had the part for a very reasonable price and had it installed almost immediately. Evidently the thing had been broken off it’s hinge for a while.and the storm just finished the job. There was also a small hole in the lid so now I know I wasn’t imagining drops on my shoulders some mornings.

Once again, good folks came to my rescue. Texas Style!

New Year’s Day – Back In Texas

I spent New Year’s Eve, deep in the Heart of Texas. Specifically in the smaller, but feisty town, just east of San Antonio. I had planned on spending the night at a ranch in Von Ormy, but that just didn’t play out. So I missed my New Year’s Eve with a can of Root Beer, the ball on Times Square and a field full of cattle.

Texas was first my home from 1978 to 1996. We moved here when the mills all closed in Ohio. I have been here several times since buying the RV. I still have family near both Houston and Corpus Christi. I wintered down at Baffin Bay last year and spent some time in North East Texas before that. I know the state well. There are not too many areas of the state I have not been in or lived in. I am as at home in the Pan Handle as I am in this central zone. I’ve driven and visited the coastal areas many times. I got flooded out of the Lake Whitney area, just this last Spring. I spent Memorial Day watching the flood waters rise and drove like a demon west and north to get away from the rains. If you haven’t hydroplaned in an RV, you haven’t lived!

The greatest thing about being back in Texas? It is the home of really super BBQ and Mexican Food. That garbage BBQ in Tennessee almost killed me. Talk about Mohammed going back to the Mountain. I am looking forward to a great year. It has to be better than last year. Trump will be elected, the Clintons will flee the country and all will be well again. Carpe Diem!