|Ring and Olivia bringing home the Christmas Tree|
Ring and Bob had some adventures together, and maybe the scariest one happened the first year we worked at the PRE. It happened in the river not too far from that water trough. Bob had to go into the river to block a bull that had been chased into the stream by a student who shall remain anonymous--mostly because I have forgotten his name. Bob didn't know the river really well at that time, and the bull plunged into a boggy spot, of which there are many in the Powder River. Ring went in beside the bull, who--having no weight on his back--made it through with only a little floundering. The horse wasn't so lucky. Watching from the bank, I thought, dang, I'm going to lose my husband and a good horse today. Time seemed to drag on and on as Ring kept lunging forward through the quicksand, with Bob encouraging him rather forcefully. Eventually they found solid footing and made it to the river bank, where they could stop and catch their breath. Ring, however, had received a nasty cut on his left front pastern from something submerged in the water. He was out of commission most of the summer, but at least we still had him.
A couple of years ago we decided that the old horse--he was 24 at time--deserved to be retired while he was still sound and could enjoy life without having to adjust to a new rider just about every week. That can be pretty stressful for a horse and he had handled it with grace and patience since about 1997. Tom Hone and Katie Maddox both kindly offered him a retirement home and we knew he would be well cared for at either location. When it came time to leave Wyoming Bob was having serious issues with his back, but could drive as far as South Dakota. Tom met us there to pick up Ring and haul him back to Minnesota, and even though we knew it was the best decision, it wasn't easy to leave him there.
Tom later sent a picture of him lying down in deep grass, eating! He was obviously adjusting well to retirement. Olivia, however, rode him some that winter and the two bonded quickly. After about a year of negotiation we decided to sell Ring to her parents and it was a good decision. The horse has had the love of a darling young woman and he has taken good care of her through 4H shows (high point trophy) clinics and trail rides. They have shared those magical times when the sun is warm, the world slows down and a girl can just hang out with her horse and her best friend, dreaming of the future, while learning important stuff along the way.
Olivia now has a younger, faster horse that she rides, but she and Ring are still buddies. This winter the tree farm a couple of miles down the road was selling Christmas trees, so she saddled Ring, took a sled and rode him to the farm. As you can see, they got the tree home just fine. Had I known ahead of time I might have been scared to death, but it worked out well. Good horses and good kids just seem to have an understanding about such things. Tom sent us this picture, so I thought I would share. I bet some of you have fond memories from your younger years of time spent with a special horse.
We hope your Christmas was blessed and your New Year will be filled with friends and love.
Bob and Betty