Yesterday I went out to visit the ponies where they are waiting for me in a very nice pasture and wondering why I have abandoned them. Since 14.December, back up in Hamilton, TX (when we didn’t ride out due to Luna Jack’s sprained ankle) we’ve only actually ridden down the road 6 days and during much of the rest of that time the ponies and I have been separated by enough distance that it required a vehicle to visit them. The herd is not happy with me. Jesse James at least started to come over to say hello when I came through the gate but when he saw the halter and lead rope in my hand he turned tail and started to walk away. I grabbed his tail (one of his favorite things – he leans into it and stretches) and he stopped for that, and then allowed me to come and say hello to the other end of him.
Finehorn (usually transported to bliss by a belly rub) suffered my attentions like a statue.
She’s shedding like crazy and I know the scratching had to feel good but there was no love from the usually demonstrative pony and Luna Jack wouldn’t even let me get close to her. This was a problem because I’d brought the old 1904 McClellan cavalry saddle out with me in order to see if it fit Luna any better than the sawbuck we’ve been using. I really needed her to cooperate. For a solid twenty minutes we went round and round the pasture, a game of chase and evade, the ponies showing off and beautiful and obviously feeling really good after their long rest. I was walking, not running, but my body handled the uneven ground of the pasture well and left me a lot more confident that I’m mending and ready to hit the trail again soon. Mr. James and Finehorn tired of the game first and turned to face me, licking and chewing and paying attention. Luna Jack, not so much. At one point Jesse and Finehorn stood in the center of a circle as Luna trotted around and around them, watching me carefully but not ready to yield. It was fun working with them again, the weather was glorious (winter in this part of Texas has a Lot of really lovely days I’m finding) and we had all broken a sweat by the time Luna decided to come in and join up.
The old McClellan seems to fit Luna much better than the sawbuck did (thank you Gryph for mailing it back) and the current plan is to wait out a few days of predicted thunder and lightning storms and be ready to pack up and ride out on Thursday, the last day of January. I sometimes wonder if we’d need less of these unplanned breaks if I’d put in a few planned rest stops, but at this point it is what it is and I’ve decided there’s no point in over-thinking things. I’ve ordered the DeLorme Atlas and Gazetteers for Louisiana and Mississippi and am eagerly awaiting their arrival. I’ve been enjoying the luxuries of a house, a kitchen, plenty of hot water, electricity and solitude. I’ve been catching up on some reading and correspondence. I’ve been missing the herd and the rhythms of our days and starting to wonder what life will be like after the riding part of this Journey is complete and it’s time to write the book. Suddenly 9 1/2 months just doesn’t seem so long.
P.S. – this is Free Range Rodeo blog post #101. What a long strange trip it’s been…