Sam and Aaron were a Godsend. Probably more than they know. Anne had gone ahead and found us a place to stop at a young couple’s house who had horse property. They showed us where to put our horses, then we began setting up our tent. Before long, they offered us hay to supplement our horses as well as dinner inside- antelope burgers! We had a nice visit with them and their family. They told us about a sweet, big- hearted horse they own. He was a great family horse and really good at working cows. They were getting frustrated with him though. In roping competitions, he would sprint out of the gate perfectly for his rider to rope the cow… sometimes. Other times- if there was a faster cow, they would have to spur him to catch up. If the fast cow was followed by a slower cow in the next round, he would run harder and sprint right past the cow. They couldn’t understand why this excellent roping horse was not paying attention to the speed of the cow it was chasing after, so they spent time training it harder and harder- trying to fix the problem. Then one day, a friend of theirs who is gifted with knowing how to help horses heal, came on their property. Sam told us, tears in her eyes, that he discovered the horse was blind. He had been trying his heart out- running faster because in the last round his rider had wanted him to- yet he couldn’t see that the next cow was slower. It broke their hearts to know how hard he was trying and they hadn’t known he couldn’t see. Needless to say, I had tears in my eyes after that story too. They hope to find a good kids program to donate him to because he loves kids, but many horse charities who have been excited to take him have found that their insurance won’t allow a blind horse on the property. Until they find the right home for him where he can be used on even ground, enjoy his work, and not be limited by his blindness in competitions- he will remain part of their family. We wish we were ready to take horses at this point for Hearts Up Ranch.
Before we left in the morning, Sam spent a couple hours with us sharing her experience and expertise. As I have shared, our biggest challenge has become simply keeping the horses comfortable. They are sound and in good weight, but their backs have changed shape enough that none of the saddles fit properly anymore. We have taken the advice of any horse owner who is educated and experienced with saddle fitting and have implemented several suggestions. Sam was very helpful, not to mention generous. Before we left, she had given us 3 saddle pads to try- all of which were foam or built up in certain areas to fill in where the saddle was not fitting. It gives us hope that we WILL figure out how to keep them comfortable and avoid all saddle sores! Thank you Sam for your gift of time, knowledge, and saddle pads.
Our day only got better from there. We had great conversation as we rode along the wide, grassy shoulder area of 96. We were within 4 or 5 miles of Anne’s planned stop for us that night when a car pulled over. Her name was Teresa and she had already heard about us! She offered us a 35 acre pasture 1/4 of a mile away that we could keep our horses in to rest them for a week or so while we stopped in Pueblo at Bev and Anne’s house. It was so perfect! So we unloaded the horses at her house and put our gear straight into Anne’s car. Lawrence, a man we had met a few miles back, showed up with several bales of hay, as well as a saddle to see if it fit the horses better than ours. It didn’t, but the offer was touching.
We all chatted for a while and learned more about just how small the world is. Teresa had heard about us through her pastor, and he is the son of a man that Grayson met while he was traveling with us. Her pastor had also heard about us through Lisa, a Pueblo resident, who is the sister of Mike- the family we stayed with for weeks back in Minden, Nevada when Apache was sick with Lyme disease. To make it even weirder, Teresa learned that we had also stayed with her brother- also in Minden, Nevada! And she didn’t even know that when she pulled over and invited us to her house! What a crazy small world of wonderful people!