Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Chincoteague

I am knitting a shawl with the name of this blog post. Chincoteague. The name caught my attention and reminded me of the young girl I once was. I read books about horses. A lot. Misty of Chincoteague was one. Brighty of Grand Canyon another. All the Black Stallion books. And, my favourite, Man O War. I probably have read Man O War at least six times. There is a chapter where the young man who is the voice of the book takes Man O War out at night for a run. No limits he lets him run as fast as he can. As fast as he wants. As fast as he is able. And the young man, who is too big to be a jockey, for that brief ride, is a jockey riding the faster horse in the world.

I have such memories of riding as a teenager. In the US at Doran's stables, at Webb's Holiday Acres on long weekends in October and May, and once even a week long at Easter. Then as a young woman in my 30s and 40s riding at the Flying U Ranch up near 100 mile. With my sisters, my girlfriend, and later with my children. The last time was a weekend together, just my daughter and I.

I remember their names: Brandy, Little Prince, Nellie, Blackie. Blackie was my favourite. He and I had such adventures. He was 16 1/2 hands high, and I rode him bareback. When I fell off (which was often) I would have to find a stump or fence to climb up on to re-mount. One time he and I ran through a wasp nest. I slathered mud on his chest and my face to take out the sting and we rode on. We must have been quite a sight when we returned to the ranch!

It was so liberating. Riding in the morning, dew sparkling on spider webs, riding alone through the trails.

And the time my sister and I got lost on horseback, far from where we started. We let the horses lead us home, but we were sore and tired and very dehydrated when we finally got back to camp (two hours late!). An adventure to remember for sure.

So, I am knitting a shawl that reminds me of all those moments of me and a horse. I hope there will be more.

1 comment:

  1. Doran's Stable was a favourite of mine too! I used to muck barns and clean tack for free riding time down at Willow and Southlands Stables on the flats. Summers riding at Double T Ranch just south of 100 Mile in the Bridge Lake area. Elvie, Plenty, Soldier, and Pharohna(sp?)were my ridees and my mom's horse's name, Buttercup. Such good memories of gathering the horses in the morning and leading them back to saddle up for the "dudes". They tried to bump our knees trotting through the trees, had to be nimble! My family hardly saw me from the age of 8 as I headed out to Southlands across Point Grey Golf Course to breathe in the heady scent of the barns. Learning care for the beasties and watching the blacksmith do his stuff. Attending the shows and admiring dressage and hunter jumping! Thanks for the trip down our memory lanes.

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