Oh yeah, we were in Asheville.  Red was the amazing rubber horse.  Especially compared to the other horses in attendance who were much older, and had accumulated a lifetime of stiffness and resistance.  Fortunately, he had none of these habits to overcome.  He was a clean slate.  He caught on to giving to pressure (actually he already knew that-due to extensive ground work he had been doing since day 1) from the bit really quick.  He could pretty much fold himself in half laterally and was happy to do so, and before long would even hold it until cued to release the bend.  Of course this is all while is feet were moving.  Direction was irrelevant as was speed as long as we were indeed moving.  We learned walk, trot, and canter in the three short days of the clinic.  The only thing I ever asked him for was to move his feet, forward preferably.  The speed was up to him.  Sharp as he was, he caught on real quick that being in a hurry was a waste of time.  There was no way to outrun me; I was on his back!  Ha!  Thankfully, he was absent the day they taught bucking, so he was oblivious to this option.  Bless his little heart, he never even attempted to buck.  The first time he cantered (his choice not mine – but I did not interfere) we went almost the entire length of the Ag Center arena and were smooth as silk.

They all made fun of my accent.  What accent?  I never did figure that one out.

Oh, the stall.  No, he was never any problem in a stall at home, and hadn’t been at the clinic either.  That is until the last night we were there.  We finished late on the last day and I opted to stay an extra night rather than packing up and pulling out after dark.  No problem, we’ll just start out fresh in the morning.  At least that’s what I thought.  I did at least get in a good night’s sleep.  When I got to the barn the next morning.  He was not at all happy, and from the looks of his stall he hadn’t been happy in quite some time.  He had torn down the buckets, torn up whatever he could get to, and at some point decided to kick his way out of town.  There were loose boards, as well as boards with holes all the way through them.  I’m amazed he didn’t get his leg caught and destroy it.  He had some scratches but nothing serious.  Why all the fuss?

Well, I hadn’t considered one way or the other what everyone else would be doing as far as travel.  Didn’t matter to me.  Uh, yes it would have, had I had sense enough to find out that EVERYONE else was leaving that night.  This left Red alone in the huge barn.  This did not sit well with him.  I’m sure he was very scared as this was the first time he had ever been truly alone.  Even if he was the only horse in the barn at home, he could see and hear the others outside in the field.  I felt really bad for him and was not even mad at the stall bill.  Oh, I got over the feeling bad pretty quick.  Being mad is no excuse for pretending to forget how to load, which he promptly did.  As soon as I got all the stuff together and was ready to go, I get him out to load him up and OH NO, I’M NOT GOING ANYWHERE NEAR THAT BIG SCARY THING – LET ALONE GET IN IT.  Sparing the boring details, I was calm and applied what we had already learned at home as well as our newfound skills and in less than an hour he was loaded and we were on our way.  I said he was smart; I never said sensible.  There can be a difference.  All in all he was quite sensible, although not as much as his mother.

Here they are all gussied up, with Alexxes and me.

Fancy duds and all at the Abingdon Horse Show.  Notice the red ribbon; he hated riding in company, always.  Only thing I can figure is I rode him almost exclusively by himself for nearly two years.  Until then I had never ridden a horse that didn’t want to ride with other horses.  My experiences were always the opposite; so, I was determined that this one would be comfortable riding alone.  Well, he was.

Speaking of sensible, Pria was very.  I had people argue with me that she was Quarter horse and not Arab.  Not that she couldn’t behave badly, because she certainly could.  She was normally very sensible, and quite calm for the most part.  Some people (horses too I guess) get a second wind after they’ve been working and run out of steam.  I guess that was the Arab, but I have known her to get third and fourth winds, probably more.  When I get that tired I lose count.  I would have to say that her best fit was competitive trail.  She was smart, quick, handy, not at all spooky, and most always cooperative.  She seemed to have reserves of energy that never dried up.  Oh she would dwindle, and appear to be down to just enough to walk the rest of the way in.  Sometimes I think she was just messing with me.  Just about the time I would resign myself to the fact that this time she was really empty, she’d pick right up and be ready for another charge.  I would never push her, never needed it.  She was always very ‘forward’ and willing to go, so if she got sluggish I trusted that she needed take it easy and I let her.

She’s front and center at the Biltmore CTR, with Bee and Spit, Julie and Amos; August 1997.  There’s her ribbon at the Iron Mountain Ride, which was Johnnie’s ride; July 1997.

Very good memories.  I think the Biltmore pic is from the ride that Dale (Daddy Dale-Bee’s JRT) hitched a ride with us without our knowledge.  He was smart enough to not reveal himself until we were too far away to take him home!  The most prevalent memories I have of that ride are the heat, and Spit’s uncanny way of clearing those annoying judges out of the trail.  Oh yeah, that’s a story for a whole nother day.

A couple more show shots.  Definitely not our forte, but a well-rounded redneck has to be versatile you know.

Yay, I stayed on! No, you may NOT kill that horse. It’s your MOTHER.

Of course he was not even being ugly.  That just looks like what I’m thinking, not what he’s thinking. ???  I can’t remember, so I made it up, ok.

The only thing I can recall that particularly bothered Pria was a plastic bag.  No, she didn’t freak out, but she just never did like the flapping of a plastic bag.  She didn’t like being left behind either, but that makes her. . .like just about every other horse in the world, so we won’t count that against her.  She much preferred to ride in company, but would go alone.

Very glad to have known them both.