September 9th, 2011 The Happy Huntress

I hunt year round. With or without a license. Hunting to me is more than the primal search of an animal you wish to kill. Hunting to me is the search for independent knowledge, truths, happenstances that shape you, break you down and then make you stronger. If hunting were a sport I would be a champion for I am always on the search for that bit of enlightenment that brings with it a rush of adrenaline and the gift of energy that has a staying power beyong human limits. I think everyone should embrace the act of hunting. It is a delicate thing, the taking of something for your personal use. Let’s just say that while I was once a virgin of hunting that I have whetted my appetite for it with the blood of knowledge and that it now drips from my lips so profoundly that others grow weak in my acts of honor. One should not kill knowledge without the intent of using it and all of its parts. Oh sure, it frightens people that I am comfortable with the thought of killing and that I am not afraid of the weapons necessary to do so. But knowledge holds within it abundance and I find that savory. Hunting has become for me a passion, like something possessed I search for it in every corner of every day. While elusive at times I am always ready to embark on the quest of finding that perfect nugget of knowledge.

September 6th, 2011 Mr. Chub Chub

Every now and then my humor bone is tickled.  This week my humor bone was tickled a lot despite the situation being a resolution to rehoming my Mom’s beloved horse, Shy.

My Mom had me pick up her horses just 4 months before her passing. At the time I thought it was strange that she would have me haul them off the ranch. We enjoyed many conversations where we laughed about the joy they brought her…and the frustration.
“It’s just getting tough for me to get hay in for the winter. I think its time you came to get Casey and Shy.”
I was moved that my Mom would trust me with her beloved horses. I know that nobody else could help them find new forever homes as I could but I still found it an honor to help my Mom. We both cried bitter tears when I pulled away from the ranch with her two horses and headed for Colorado.  Truly one of the most painful moments of my life and that’s comparing it to her sudden death just four months later.  Perhaps my Mom had an inclination that something was going to happen to her.
Casey found a new home and owner right away and while I was in the midst of my Mom’s passing, his new owner still managed to send photos of the two of them to me so I could share them with my Mom. My Mom passed before she could see the photos. I cried those bitter tears all over again.
Shy, the little bugger, stayed on with us and after a failed rehoming with a family we took him back and decided that his time would wait until the time was right to find his new owner.
With me in Idaho and he in Colorado it seemed that his time might never come.
We had a trainer work with him but after he bucked off a prospective buyer we figured it best to wait until I could work with him once again. Shy and I had rode only once together and he had never offered the slighest in bad behavior. But Shy is a robust pony and has the attitude to go with it. If Shy were in Bazaar magazine he’d be the highest paid fashion designer. His ego is that brilliant and eclectic.
I took to Shy right away and observing him it was clear to me that he’s plum smarter than 98% of the human race. I knew he would have to have someone special.
Some months back I wrote about the tragic story of my niece’s horse, Shadow, who had to be put to sleep due to a degenerative blindness disorder.
One day as I was pondering the fate of our business, our lives and the health and welfare of the horses, it hit me. What if Shy and my niece were destined for one another? Might that be what my Mom had planned all along?
I know that planning may be a strong use of the term since she died before Shy even was considered for a home but I’ve seen over the months how in her passing she has continued to assist members of our family in numerous ways. Yours truly included.
I mulled this possibility over and then picked up the phone.
“Brother,” I said. “Would you consider letting your daughter have Shy?”
He didn’t even hesitate. The idea had never entered our minds until now and then it all seemed so perfect that my Mom’s beloved horse would go to her granddaughter.
I laughed because this meant I would haul Shy back from Colorado to Idaho…where this whole story began.
I did just that this past month and last week after suffering through a traumatic event of which I cannot speak of yet I was given a gift. A week with my wonderful niece.
We worked together with Shy and the two clicked like they had been together their entire life.
Shy whinnied and whined the entire night before I took him 160 miles North to visit with my niece the weekend before she came to stay with me. In fact, he whinnined so loud he kept me up the entire night. He had done the same in the trailer. It was very annoying.
But the minute I took him off the trailer and turned him loose in the yard with my niece he went quiet and never made a peep the entire weekend.  A sign to me I was on to something.
She traveled back with me to the ranch and excitedly talked about all of the plans she had for Shy.
When could we ride?
When would we ride?
How far?
She never left his side except to catch a few hours sleep. At 5:30 a.m. I looked out into the pasture and she was there with him. And before dark…the same thing. The two were inseperable.
We rode every day during her stay with me and on the last two days we trailered out to a friends beautiful and large ranch where we rode, had some lunch, grazed the horses and then gave them a bath. It was a remarkable weekend and marked by many moments of laughter, something I really needed.
“Why is his name Shy?” she asked.

I didn’t know.  My mom and I had discussed this.  The name didn’t fit.  But she hadn’t renamed him and neither had I.

In those moments of laughter and endless questions from my niece, I felt my Mom.  She would have loved this.  She would have loved that my niece had the honor of renaming Shy even more so I said to her, “if you don’t like the name, rename him.”

“I think its mean to rename a horse if he’s had he name for so long.” she said.  But I saw her eyes light up.  I knew she was already working on it.  Eventually, my niece decided to rename Shy because Shy does not fit Shy. He isn’t Shy. There isn’t an ounce of Shy in him.

She scrubbed his head before telling me.

“Do you think he likes his name?” she asked.

“No.” I answered honestly.
This is a horse so smart that we had to hide treats because he kept trying to manipulate the direction of the ride so he could go back for one more!
This is a horse so smart that when he locked himself in the barn he whinnied incessently to be turned free. He’s quite the ham. A horse so smart he hides and then comes to find you! He’s really something.
Of course, he is all pony so he is also as wide as he is tall despite various diet plans we’ve established. It always seems they fail.
But my niece solved that. She renamed Shy. She named him Mr. Chub Chub. And its perfect.