Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Ride of the Week: Flying Fireballs and Wild Grape Vines

Please welcome Mrs. Mom from Oh HorseFeathers! and Related Twisted "Tails" for our inaugural Ride of the Week. 

Contrary to popular belief, the character known as “Mrs. Mom” is not a 93 year-old man, who drags various portions of his anatomy behind him in the dust. In actuality, Mrs. Mom is an almost 40 year-old Mother of three, devoted wife, and passionate horsewoman. A career in hoof care has been cut short by back injury- NOT sustained while under a horse- has led her to writing a small blog, “Oh HorseFeathers! and Related Twisted “Tails” in her spare time.

Flying Fireballs and Wild Grape Vines

I’ve worn glasses about as long as I’ve loved horses. Which, if you ask my Dad, is more or less since I had legs. Now way back in my youth, getting a brand new pair of glasses was momentous. And expensive. Very. Expensive.

At the ripe old age of sixteen, I was hot stuff on a horse. All the ribbons on the walls showed me that, every single day. In my mind, I was invincible, expensive new glasses and all. My very best friend and I both were hot stuff on a horse. We spent every waking moment not in school or at our part time jobs riding, showing, and starting young horses. I was always told, “Wear your old glasses when you go riding!” so that my newer (and expensive) “new” glasses would not suffer injury. (Never mind that to this day, I still have never broken a pair of my glasses.)

One crisp fall day, in the wilds of upstate New York, my best friend and I decided that a trail ride was in order. We used to go “brush busting” regularly, forging our own paths through some rough country. I got a ride over to her house, and a lecture along the way about how to not mess up my new (and expensive) glasses while riding. Bev and I headed out as soon as I had dropped my bags to catch our mounts for the day, and of course, I skipped changing my glasses.

Bev caught her sixteen hand, blood bay, solid as a rock, quirky minded mare “Ruby”, and we decided that it was time for “Fireball”, a 14.2 hand small framed Morgan gelding to hit the trails and get in some good miles. We had been riding Fireball for about a month, and we were confident that he was ready to go.

For the most part, he did good. Traffic getting to our favorite area did not phase him, wildlife popping up in strange places caused him only to look a bit, but not spook. I sat relaxed and comfortable upon his back, laughing and talking with Bev about our plans for later in the day.

We hit the off shoot into the woods, and headed down to the thicket. Now, the area we were in was rough. This part of the state was known for large rocks, very little topsoil, wild brambles, and wild grapevines. Since it was fall, we did not have to worry about breaking through green branches, and our progress through the woods was excellent training for a young, green horse. Bev on Ruby led the way- since getting in front of Ruby- who absolutely loved brush busting- was a very bad idea. Fireball cheerfully plowed his way in her wake, dodging trees, and twisting and turning around saplings. We were saying how well he was doing, when “it” happened.

We found out the hard way that Fireball, with his small build and small closely set pig eyes, had a real issue with things being dragged behind him. A grapevine wound up snagging on the fender of my saddle. As I reached down to unhook it, Fireball moved his hindquarters, and the vine wound up snagged in his tail.

Fireball, AKA: COMET, was off like a shot. He hit his stride, and closed the gap between us and Ruby, plowing through her 1,100 pounds like she wasn’t even there. I did my best to duck and dodge, and bring his head around, but had to give up in order to keep myself from becoming lodged in a tree trunk. There were two thoughts going through my mind. One, “Holy crap, I am SO going to die if I break these new glasses!” and “Holy Shit I’m Gonna DIE!”

I could hear Bev and Ruby crashing through the brush behind us, yelling for me to stop the horse. (Stop? Like you think I was egging him on to go faster?) She and I both knew what was looming ahead—and I knew if I did not get that colt stopped or turned REAL quick, he and I were going to be in a whole new world of hurt. With every panicked stride Fireball took, we were headed closer and closer to a sheer cliff that dropped into a deep, cold, dark reservoir. Bev thought she was witnessing certain death, and she was already worried about how to explain to my mother that not only had I died, but I had worn my new (expensive) glasses to die in. Fireball however, lost his rocket engine about three strides before the edge, and I was able to halt him.

That was a view I’ll never forget. Fireball’s fuzzy red head, ears hanging over the edge of the cliff, looking way, way down to the water below.

I sat there for a moment, feeling his sides heave beneath me. My hands shook, my glasses were steamed in the cold fall air, and I wondered if we had truly escaped unscathed. Bev and Ruby came crashing up behind us. The first words out of her mouth? “Holy Shit! Why didn’t you STOP him!” Ruby snaked her head out, ears back, teeth showing, in an attempt to bite Fireball. I threw myself off the horse, and pushed her head away. Bev took Fireball from me, still sitting on Ruby, while I checked myself over to make sure that nothing was broken on the horse, or me. And while I was at it, I had to untangle the still clinging grapevine from his tail. Good thing Bev had a tight hold on him, because once he caught sight of the vine moving again, Fireball was ready to haul ass down the cliff.

We rode that little gelding all over for the next probably five years. He was a wonderful ride, a sweet horse, and even went on to compete in some local shows and do quite well. A young lady came along and fell right in love with him, and Bev decided he needed to move on to a new home. Besides, she already had our next project picked out- a Mustang named Skippy.

The best part of that day? There was not one tiny rub on my brand new, very expensive glasses, and my Mother never knew of our escapade.

I loved this story.  Thank you so much for kicking of ROTW so well, Mrs. Mom!    Be sure to go click on over to her blog, leave her some comment love and send a virtual hug to Sonny who knows how to enjoy a good roll.


Jennifer said...

Oh. My. Goodness!!!

Holy Fireball....
No wonder Momma rides bareback all the time. She's invincible!

GunDiva said...

MM - I'm so glad that you were my first guest and delivered such an amazing first ROTW.

You rock!

Kate said...

Great story! I've had some of those rides that I never told my mom about!

Mrs Mom said...

Jennifer- oh no ya dont. No no no!! I am SO not invincible!! I was on a tired horse- poor little bugger ran quite a ways through rough terrain, and he was plumb TIRED!

Kate!! Spill it!! Share some of those stories with us!!!! Mom can't get us in trouble now right?? ;)

Diva, it was an honor to post with you. I had such a blast remembering that story, and writing it up was fun!

Mrs Mom said...

Ya know, it dawned on me that there was a funny ending to that story, that I completely forgot about until right now....

We went back to the barn, untacked and cooled out our horses, all the while talking over what to do next, who to ride, and if we were hungry or not.

We voted hungry. Once the horses were set back in the pasture, we got our money and headed to the local grocery store. Now this store had an AMAZING bakery, and their donuts were simply DIVINE. We got some munchies, including donuts, hopped in the car and headed back home....

Me being me, I reached in the bag and hauled out the donuts. And JUST as we were passing a state patrolman, I looked dead at him, and took a HUGE bite of D-O-N-U-T.

We got pulled over. Bev got in trouble for her registration being expired by two days, and *I* got in trouble from Bev for eating a donut in front of a cop. (Hey, I offered him one! Wasn't my fault he didn't accept it.)

To this day, Bev will NOT let me eat donuts in her vehicles, NOR will she let me look at a cop while she is driving.

Oh and the state cop? He was the big brother to one of the guys we went to school with- all of whom were state patrolmen. And all of them, even the nice guy we went to school with- were damn good cops, even if they took exception to a cute young girl, eating a D-O-N-U-T in front of them.....

Tj and Mark said...

Mrs. or perhaps it is Mr Mom (we don't really know, do we?) can always make me laugh.

Shirley said...

Love the add on ending to a terrific story! Mrs. Mom's a natural-born story teller!

Sydney said...

Haha I have had too many stories like this. Too funny.

T!nK said...

great story! I was on the edge of my seat!

Once Upon an Equine said...

Wonderful story Mrs. Mom, and glad you, fireball, and your expensive glasses escaped unscathed.

Gundiva, this is my first visit to your blog. I'm looking forward to catching up on your previous posts.

Merri said...

yowza! my heart was pounding there for a bit.
you are soooooooooo lucky you didn't scratch your nice glasses!
: )
- The Equestrian Vagabond

Linda said...

Funny story--scary!!--a ride like that is enough to make you give up horses--like you used up all of your 9 lives so why try to risk anymore?!? I commend you for getting back on and continuing your life with horses! It seems they always live up to their names, don't they? I have a friend who REALLY believes in that, so she always cautions against names like Sassy, Buck, Stormy, Killer (just made that one up, but I definitely wouldn't buy a horse named Killer)....:)

Funder said...

LOL, excellent story!

Linda - I knew a horse named Buck. He was probably an Icelandic - looked exactly like one. He could, in fact, buck really really hard. And he was proud cut. Very proud cut. So his second favorite thing in life, besides bucking his teenager off, rhymed with "buck." I thought he was very well named.

Rising Rainbow said...

All I could think about was those darn glasses. Maybe that's because I've been wearing mine as long as I can remember roo! I can totally relate to thinking about saving the glasses before saving your life! LOL

Linda said...

Funder--Had a good laugh about that one. ;)

Rachel said...

That was absolutely terrifying just to read!!! So glad everyone came out okay and what a great kickoff to ROTW!