Today was our longest day in quite a while- 21 miles. We didn’t realize it was quite that far to our hosts’ house from the campground, but it didn’t matter. We had a wonderful day! We were full of excitement, and I think our horses knew because they walked with vigor.
The day was cold with quite a bitter wind blowing, but we bundled up in lots of layers, put on our face masks, and got off and walked several times. Joyce came out to check on us and brought hot chocolate and lunch that was easy to eat with gloves on. That’s actually been a challenge- digging in our saddle bags for our dehydrated lunch with gloves on. Half the time I end up not eating very much for lunch because I don’t want to take my gloves off! So we were grateful for that.
Then the strangest thing happened. Apache became a crazy Appy! His ‘brains leaked out his spots’ as I sometimes say, and he got goofy. I think all the corn he was fed last night and this morning from the campground owner went to his head! The others didn’t act this way, but it was like he flipped a switch and had so much energy he couldn’t walk! I had to give Richard all the pack horses so I could handle Apache. Then I gave up holding him back and decided to let him get rid of some energy. So we took off at a fast trot, then a fast lope up the dirt road ahead. We then loped back to Richard. That didn’t fix anything. So we did it about 10 more times! By then he was slowing down a bit, but still had a lot of spring in his step! I haven’t loped him since I don’t know when! He hasn’t had this much energy since we left home! I loped him several more times that day here and there, and even though we rode 21 miles (well he probably went 23!) he never did settle down except for when we were stopped, and when we took the saddle off at the Adam’s house! At least we had fun with it!
Just a few miles before we got to our host’s house, Joyce and Rob met up with us so Joyce could ride her horse and escort us to their home. Shortly after they arrived, a TV station showed up and took video footage and gave us good interviews. While we were busy with that, the man whose house we were stopped in front of came outside astonished. He said that his father met cross country riders who walked right past their house years ago, and now he is the exact same age his father was and it was happening to him!
During the interview, another car pulled up and waited patiently for our attention. We were becoming quite an attraction and a road block! The ladies in the car were a mother and daughter. The mom was a spitfire 95 year old woman who was in amazing shape for her age. Rob had been talking to her and relayed the message that she was trying to fulfill all her dreams. She had ridden a motorcycle last year, and she wanted to ride a horse. She had not been on one for almost 90 years! I was thrilled to share my horse with her, and she was nearly jumping up and down with excitement! Richard came over and together we helped her get on- but really she did most of it herself! She was grinning from ear to ear, then I let her walk around on Apache- who moments earlier was a nutjob, and now he was walking on eggshells for his precious rider. I just love how horses know. They just know. She took the reins and steered him around, then asked if she could tow the pack string. Why not?! The TV got footage and everything. It was just wonderful and made our day. We got a phone call the next day that the lady was on and excitement high for at least 24 hours after her horse ride! This is what it’s all about- horses helping people and sharing the gifts God has given us! Thank you Maxine for being brave enough to ask for letting us share our horses with you to accomplish your dream. You made our day as much as we made yours! Merry Christmas!