• Tag Archives horses
  • The West

    Winter                                        First Moon of the New Year

    Residuals from Denver.  Gabe saying, “Oh, no.” as he pushes his toy trains over the edge of the table.  Ruthie dancing with her stuffed horse while the US Junior Olympian dressage quadrille performed.  Jon at work on the renovation, painting doors, grouting tile.  Jen and I headed out to A-basin to pick up Jon after his head banging.

    The more we go out there and, specifically, the more I go to the Great Western Stock Show, the more intrigued I get with the West.  Cowboys.  Belt Buckles.  Rodeo.  Horses.  Ranches.  Brahma bulls and Longhorn cattle.  Rhinestone belts and Stetson hats.  There is an America here that I know little about.  A part of the country’s history born in pioneer expansion and Indian oppression.  A hardy, land and livestock oriented life necessitated by land unfit for traditional agriculture.

    Both the new West and the old one intrigues me.  Even the very old one.  The Anasazi west and the gunfighter and outlaw west and the rancher and cowboy and pick-up truck west.

    Not sure right now what to do with this intrigue, but something will come.

    Code of the West

    • ·         Live each day with courage
    • ·         Take pride in your work
    • ·         Always finish what you start
    • ·         Do what has to be done
    • ·         Be tough, but fair
    • ·         When you make a promise, keep it
    • ·         Ride for the brand
    • ·         Talk less and say more
    • ·         Remember that some things aren’t for sale
    • ·         Know where to draw the line

  • Jumping Horses

    Winter                            First Moon of the New Year

    Sometimes you do something for one reason and have an unexpected outcome.  Tonight was like that for me.

    The Great Western Stock Show, Colorado’s winter State Fair-like celebration of things Western, has become my time to visit with the grandkids.  I take the kids to a couple of shows, walk through the exhibition hall with them and get down into the stock barns, too.

    This afternoon at 5 we boarded a shuttle here at the Best Western, making it out to the show around 5:15.  Gabe had his picture taken on a Clydesdale.  3 year old Gabe and this giant horse made quite the shot.  Very big horse, very small Gabe.

    After a dinner of polish, briskets and chicken nuggets we wandered the merchandise and exhibition halls, seeing John Deere implements, cattle chutes, Western clothing, candy, baby chicks, several cages filled with chickens, a bee exhibit (I chatted with some Colorado bee keepers) and bought Ruth a lavender cowgirl hat.

    Before going to the main event, we wandered through the horse barns, stopping to communicate with a few.  On the wall opposite the last of the horse stalls were some larger stalls.  In two of them  were Texas Longhorn cattle.  One came out of the stall while we watched, he had to angle his head to maneuver those huge horns through a three foot + opening.

    Then we went to the event center for the Grand Prix, a $40,000 steeple chase, which pitted 27 horses and several riders against an 80 second clock and a series of jumps designed by the top steeple chase course designer in the US.

    I’d never seen horse jumping live.  It amazed me.  These huge animals and their relatively small riders approached jumps of various heights, widths and construction.  One had water and another had a brick wall, both difficult for horses to cross.

    The horse would gather itself in stride, then leap, stretching out those four legs, legs meant to have contact with the earth and follow their momentum across the obstacles.  This is an act of courage, skill, athleticism and beauty.  On the part of both rider and horse.

    I would do this again.   Never occurred to me I might like it.