Spookfest

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    Is it really Halloween? Wasn’t it just Fourth of July?

    Despite my muddled time frame, I can’t ignore the abundance
    of Halloween decorations. They’ve suddenly cropped up in the front yards that
    border the bridle paths. Oh joy. The holidays are upon us. Between the
    Frankensteins, witches and tombstones of October and the giant snow globes and blow-up
    Santas throughout December, the trail horses in town either get de-sensitized
    or have psychotic meltdowns.

    Fortunately, both of my guys are very ho-hum. They’ve long
    since seen it all before.

    Wally's view

    Fortunately, Wally seems more interested in the
    lush green lawn than the wagon load of Halloween ghouls in this front yard.

    Yet don’t think I haven’t ridden my share of spooky horses.

    Perhaps the most memorable was a bay mare we had many years
    ago. Her name was Crack a Lou, and she was as cute as a ladybug and about the
    size of one, too. At the time we were breeding Thoroughbreds for the racetrack,
    and Crack a Lou came from a line of dependable producers. Since she was still
    sound after her racing career I figured she’d make a good trail horse when she
    wasn’t heavy in foal. Most of the time I rode her bareback, which made my
    involuntary dismounts sleek and seamless, like some sort of equestrian ballet
    movement. Rather than getting tangled in tack, I simply slid off. And it
    happened quite regularly.

    Back then, our horsekeeping town was very rural; no freeway,
    no Target store, no housing tracts. But we did have a lot of peach-colored boulders
    that popped out of the hillsides, not unlike monolithic pumpkins. Invariably
    I’d be jogging along on dainty little Crack a Lou, listening to the katydids
    and mockingbirds and… whoosh! She’d spot a suspicious lump of granite, spin
    around and bolt in the opposite direction. I felt like a cartoon character.
    First the horse is underneath me and then, magically, it’s gone! I swear I’d be
    suspended for a second or two before gravity would take hold and I’d hit the
    ground. Fortunately, Crack a Lou was comparable to the size of the average cart
    pony, so I didn’t have far to fall. I’d dust off the foxtails, grab the reins
    and a handful of black mane, and shimmy up on her back again. Then we’d ride
    some more until we came upon the next bunch of menacing rocks.

    I’m sure that many of you have ridden spooky horses, too.
    Maybe you’re even dealing with one now. Most of these horses get better over
    time, providing they’re ridden with confidence. But in the meantime we get
    treated to some of the wildest tricks in the horse world. And that can be
    scarier than any Halloween haunted house. Quite honestly, I ain’t ‘fraid of no
    ghosts because I’ve spent plenty of time riding spooky horses.

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    2 COMMENTS

    1. Amen! I’ve known many spooky trail horses, many of which I still know. Despite their frequent psycho moments, they’re very reliable, and we love them anyway!

    2. Cindy’s sister in: I must LOL here. As witness to many of Cindy’s involuntary dismounts from Crack a Lou, I have to say there was indeed a lag time between when the mare disappeared and Cindy hit the ground. Like seconds. They were Wiley Coyote moments … and I cherish them all.

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