Saturday, July 20, 2019
Yesterday, I fulfilled a dream. After learning to drive a horse slightly over a year ago, and having practiced driving my pony, Sunni, regularly through our neighborhood, I loaded her and her cart into a horse trailer. We were off on a new adventure. I wanted to drive her in a natural setting with a network of well-trodden horse trails. These trails needed to accommodate our cart, be relatively rock and obstacle free, and hopefully, near-enough to emergency assistance, if needed.
My head was full of unlikely things that meant disaster–from the sudden frightening appearance of a cougar, to having a wheel pop off and upturning our rapidly-rolling carriage. The best way to combat those shpilkes was focus on my rock-solid and steady pony. Unless something really nuts occurred, she’d perform as expected. This year, Sunni is 16, has been with me since she was seven. She’s a foundation Morgan (her bloodline from 19th Century Calvary Morgans), with the sturdy and unbeatable work ethic that Morgans share.
My fears, encouraging me to remain near home, pulled me toward Tumalo Reservoir, an area of familiar horse trails. But I gathered courage and instead headed toward Peterson Ridge, east of Sisters. I’d not been there for years–not a great distance from home, but far enough to fulfill my dream, of trusting a horse and testing my driving skills. (My confidence also arises from regular driving lessons, with Sunni, from our skilled and capable trainer.)
I unloaded the cart, got Sunni harnessed and hitched, and we trotted away on a gravel road that made my ride bumpy and washboardy. We turned off onto the first dirt trail we came across which was smoother but quickly became forested and lonely. I hoped it would circle toward our trailhead. The ride itself was lovely. Sunni trotted in a regular cadence, unfazed by the surroundings and easy to drive, while our cart rolled smoothly. We eventually found ourselves moving toward the trailhead, and so again took off, in a new direction. As is customary in our home neighborhood, car drivers slowed or stopped to give us safety and room, and always, with smiles and thumbs-up.
I couldn’t have asked a drop more from Sunni. She was perfect.
When we finally rolled into our trailhead, a couple of young women unsaddling their horses hailed us. They wanted to know how we had managed to haul a carriage. And they were riding Morgans, had more at home and love the breed. One woman is from AZ, hauled three Morgans here to visit her friend, who it happens lives on Bend’s east side and not far from me. (She knew my place, from having passed and and seeing my donkey, Pimmy, who’s always an eye-catcher.) These ladies helped to reload and secure my cart, and we exchanged phone numbers. Something that makes having horses really special is a shared affection for them that encourages and nourishes friendships.
Back home and then unloaded, Sunni had to run awhile in circles to escape her big sister, jealous Rosie. Meanwhile, Pimmy, looking on, brayed happily that the family was together again.
Dear Friends: It’s the grand side of having, loving, and enjoying horses. Diana