I write romantic suspense and warm, family relationship type novels, often with a touch of humor. Many of my books have featured animals as key players--dogs, cats, llamas, cockatiels, horses...even our son's pet albino corn snake, Sssssid, who appeared in my first Superromance back in 1999.

Animals have been a big part of my life since I was a child. How about you? I hope you'll become a "blog follower" here (see the right-hand column for a place to click) and will come back often. So...let's talk about our pets!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Horses, kids, and hot summer days....


Down memory lane....

It's been hot here. Hot and humid and stormy. I am really, really looking forward to a cool spell! The weather got me thinking about those long, endless days of summer during childhood...when the span of time between the last day of school and September seemed too long to even imagine. Now, I seem to be in an alternate universe, where Memorial Day and Labor Day are just a breath apart.

What are your favorite summer memories?

I got my first horse when I was six years old. What an exciting summer that was! Jeannie seemed tall as an elephant to me. She was supposedly part Welsh, part quarter horse and around fifteen years old. I'm guessing she was closer to thirty, but she'd basically "been around the world" and was the perfect first horse.

My dad talked to George Boyd, the local horse trader, who said I shouldn't have a saddle until I'd ridden for a couple years so that I'd really learn to stay on, so I rode her bareback everywhere. It was like giving the keys of a car to a six (almost seven)-year-old. Ah, the freedom! Especially after I started meeting up with other kids who had horses in a several mile radius, and started tagging along with them.

Have you seen those westerns where the cowboys leap up on a horse from the rear? That never worked for anyone I knew! In fact, most of my riding buddies had to mount by grabbing a chunk of mane and swinging up. Didn't work for me, though, because I was too little. I basically had to grab some mane and shinny up her leg...until I learned to just let her graze. Then I'd sit on her neck, just behind her ears, tug a rein, her head would come up, and I'd slide into place...backwards. (smile) That helped until I was a year or so older, and could swing up like everyone else.

My mom would be quite perturbed when I was supposed to be practicing the piano and had eight faces peering through the window at me--four friends sitting on their horses--waiting for me to join them. It wasn't conducive for concentration!

I look back and think it's a wonder I survived some of the adventures that came along, often far from home. If my parents had only known!

Being a little pipsqueak had disadvantages other than mounting--it was mighty hard to reach things up high.

My old horse had trouble with dry, cracked hooves, and the farrier recommended an economical alternative to hoof dressing through the winter: plain ole lard, slathered on the hooves right up along the coronary band (where the pastern stops and the hoof begins.) My dad brought home several gallon pails of it.

Keeping the stable clean (really, our "stable" was an addition added to our garage, with a box stall and a tack area) was like playing house. I loved to pound nails for hanging things and keeping things "just so." The following summer, while I was cleaning out there, I reached up for a forgotten container well above my head.

I still remember that hot summer day.

The way that heavy, nearly full gallon pail slowly, slowly, slowly rotated within my grasp.

How I teetered precariously on a step stool.

My surprise when I realized the lid was gone...

And a millisecond later, the horror of feeling warm, melted, rancid lard dump over my head. Complete, mind you, with an ample supply of flies that had drowned in it through the summer months. The slime in Ghost Busters has nothing on melted lard!

My clothes had to be thrown away.
Shampoo couldn't cut through that thick grease.
We tried vinegar, and lemon juice, and more shampoo.
My hair hung in dark, limp, stinky strings for a good week.

Maybe it didn't look quite as bad as the Jell-O incident....but that's another story!

So...have any good summer memories to tell from your childhood?! We'd love to hear them!

Incidentally, thanks to everyone who has been stopping by. The visitor numbers have been increasing a lot, and it's great to have you here!

Blessings to all,
Roxanne

9 comments:

  1. Hi Roxanne-
    Sounds like you had a great horse. I also had a welsh/quarter cross, who was probably 25 years old and the most stubborn horse I ever rode. We would be galloping across the field, and because he felt like it, he would just stop. I flew over his neck and landed on my head more than once. He didn't last long in our barn.
    My other favorite summer memories were going to the fair with our 4-H animals. I raised rabbits, goats, guide dogs, and sheep (though I didn't show them all every year). All the work of the year before was worth it when I paraded around the show ring, or stood behind my rabbits. Fun times!!
    Thanks for sharing your memory. Sounds awful, but funny now!

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  2. I was in 4-H too..from the age of nine until I was too old to stay. Maybe 18? I don't remember, now. I was SO proud of my first, white (grin) ribbon with my old horse. Didn't have a trailer then, so I'd ridden three miles to the fairground. Had no clue yet about fitting a horse for show.

    How cool that you got to show all of those animals! And guide dogs--wow! What breed were they? Did you ever see them again after they were placed? I'd love to hear more. What a wonderful, giving person you were to do that!

    And hugs on the horse hitting the brakes....my son's Frisky did that more than a few times!

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  3. For me, summer was armloads of books from the
    library, a quilt, a cold drink and me. You
    could find us out under the trees across from
    our house, reading and listening to the breeze
    rustling through the leaves. This was in the
    mid-1940s, when no one would bother you, except perhaps the pesky little neighbor boys!

    Pat Cochran

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  4. For me, summer was all about reading at the pool. Loved the blog!

    Val
    lastnerve2000@gmail.com

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  5. My summer memories consisted of family vacation. For a solid week we drove site seeing. Daddy had a US map and tried to cover as many states as possible. We went East saw Cape Cod, Boston,Williamsburg. South to New Orleans, Tenn & Kentucky. North Mid west to Ill., Minn & Wisc. Another year to Col. & S.D which I absolutely LOVED! I'm lucky because after I got married my old husband in 35 yr took me out of state only twice so I'm left with only childhood memories.

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  6. Loved this blog! I didn't get my first horse until I was 36, so all of my youth horse memories center around my friends' horses. My friend Ali had a persnickity little pony who did the put on the brakes thing and dumped me into a yucca plant. Not a good time. And my other friend Stacey had a flea-bitten grey who hauled us all oveer the mountains and town. My mom got in trouble with our neighbors for allowing Stacey to ride her horse over to visit and turning her loose in our back yard. We were clearly not living in the country anymore! My mom just laughed at the neighbor and told them that the horse was just visiting and fertilizing the yard *grin*. It was the last we heard of it.

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  7. What fun summer memories! SuzyQ, your dad sounds like mine. Dad loved to travel. Literally as soon as we got home, he was planned the next road trip.

    GunDiva, OUCH over the yucca plant! Ponies are SO crafty, aren't they? I think they're genetically programmed to know the hit-the-brakes-and-make-children-fly routine.

    I had a friend who often rode double with me, back in grade school. We went all over our half of the county. And the adventures....oh, my. If I thought MY kids were doing some of those crazy things, they would have been grounded for life! :)

    Val and Pat, my summers were books and horses. Often, a combination--I'd go out to the barn,lay on my stomach on top of the horse and prop my book on its rear. Perfect place to read all the Black Stallion books. :)

    Thanks so much for stopping by!!

    Roxanne

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