The morning of my 30th birthday found us waking up on the Foxtrotter training ranch near Bolivar where we were hosted last night. It was a welcome respite after the harrowing day we had had on the roads dealing with unruly traffic!
Richard was given the opportunity by Vance, the trainer and grandson of the owners, to ride his first gaited horse. Yes, Tiska is gaited, but he only rode her when we bought her to see how strong she is. He is not terribly fond of riding unbroke horses, and Tiska is still not exactly the calmest riding horse. She’s made great improvements, but Richard is not terribly interested in riding her until she is a little better trained.
So Richard got to experience the ground covering, smooth Foxtrot gait of an experienced Foxtrotter stallion. “It was different and fun!” said he of his first real experience riding a gaited horse. While he cruised around the arena at a nice smooth clip, we were educated about this versatile breed. They have refined the breed so that they are very tough, sure footed, big boned and strong, are excellent in flats or mountains, and have a tremendous amount of endurance. They are giving Arabians a run for their money in the endurance riding world. I got the opportunity to try the Foxtrot too, after Richard had his fill. It was very similar to Tiska on a good day, but definitely a longer legged movement. Missouri- what a fitting place to try out the famous ‘Missouri Foxtrotter’ – the land of the original breed foundations!
After leaving our kind hosts, we had a very nice day of riding. There were a couple really cool things that we passed as well as some lovely signs of spring. I’ll save those for another blog, though, to prevent this one from getting too long! We had originally planned to be stopped for my special birthday, but since we were stopped so long in Stockton, I was ok with riding. It really was quite an enjoyable day on quiet pretty dirt roads.
My birthday evening hosts were Libby and Steve, who lived in a ‘town’ of 3 families and a church! They were quiet and nice, but they had a very touching story of how they met and got married, so we enjoyed getting to know them.
But then…. Richard surprised me! I was not expecting a party or gift right now considering our circumstances. (I’ve already put in a request for a lobster fest with our family when we finish as a combined birthday and end-of-the-trail celebration!)
But Richard was not to see his wife without a gift on her 30th birthday! He SOMEHOW is very sneaky! He has quietly done small odd jobs for people as we have gone for a few months now. Maybe when I’m blogging? And he and Matt York, when they went to pick up his new boots, stopped at a jewelry store and picked up a beautiful silver set that I have wanted for years. I had totally forgotten about it, but HE remembered! It’s the Open Heart collection by Jane Seymour.
So here’s to my very thoughtful husband who remembered something I wanted that was small enough to enjoy on this ride and somehow managed to get it too! Thank you Richard for an unforgettable 30th birthday- the likes of one I will probably never have again!