Hooked on a Feeling


    Yes folks, this goofball thinks he’s a stud muffin.

    Someone needs to inform Danny that he is no longer a stallion. I thought he already understood this, because even though he was gelded only a year ago—after siring more than 20 foals, a fact that confounds me, given his less than ideal conformation—he is a perfect gentleman. He’s the Labrador retriever I always wanted.

    Then last weekend I went trail riding with my friend Barbara. She owns a pair of Trakehner mares. Dulce is dapple gray, about 8-years old, and on the prissy side. The other horse, Dru, is Dulce’s dam. She’s a dark chocolate bay in her mid-twenties. Probably because of her age she’s a no-nonsense, workaholic kind of horse.

    Danny has never paid any attention to young, flashy Dulce. But last weekend Barbara decided to ride old Dru. Since a lot of the trails are narrow and require us to ride head-to-tail, we figured an introduction was necessary. So we allowed Dru and Danny to check each other out and sniff noses. From Danny’s perspective it was love at first sight. How do I know? Let’s just say that he made his feelings obvious.

    Admittedly, I was unaware of these feelings because I was sitting on his back, chatting with Barbara, oblivious of what was literally going on beneath me.

    “Uh, Cindy,” Barbara said, “there’s a certain part of Danny’s anatomy that hasn’t gotten the message that he’s a gelding.”

    I had to think carefully to get what she meant. That’s when I noticed several cars and trucks cruising slowly past us, as if their drivers didn’t want to miss the show that was certain to begin momentarily.

    I quickly grabbed a better hold of my reins, turned Danny away from the business end of Dru’s body, and got him thinking more about the trail ride. Apparently Danny is easy to distract, because for the rest of the morning he behaved. And that’s a good thing, because I’d really hate to end up on You Tube, sitting astride my amorous gelding while he performed an equine version of dirty dancing.

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    Cindy Hale’s life with horses has been filled with variety. As a child she rode western and learned to barrel race. Then she worked as a groom for a show barn, and was taught to harness and drive Welsh ponies. But once she’d taken her first lessons aboard American Saddlebreds she was hooked on English riding. Hunters and hunt seat equitation came next, and she spent decades competing in those divisions on the West Coast. Always seeking to improve her horsemanship, she rode in clinics conducted by world-class riders like George Morris, Kathy Kusner and Anne Kursinski. During that time, her family began raising Thoroughbred and warmblood sport horses, and Cindy experienced the thrills and challenges of training and showing the homebred greenies. Now retired from active competition, she’s a popular judge at local and county-rated open and hunter/jumper shows. She rides recreationally both English and western. Her Paint gelding, Wally, lives at home with her and her non-horsey husband, Ron.



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