Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The family that rides together

original run date April 24th
Chariton Valley News Press

 The house is almost finished! The carpenters should be able to finish up the outside this week. Larry and I took a break from it all this weekend and had a little fun. Although we did do some cleaning up around the yard and barn on Saturday, most of the afternoon was spent getting tack checked and cleaned.
Sunday afternoon we loaded up the bruts and headed south. One of our favorite places to ride is Rudolf Bennett Conservation Area. We joined my brother, my nephew and his family and a few friends for a long, lazy Sunday afternoon ride. Life is good again.
As we were riding along, enjoying the cackles from my almost two year old great-nephew as he “drove” the horse he was riding with his mom, Doug reminded Larry and I how he got started riding in the first place. Back in the day, Jeana and Jake tended to get into all kinds of trouble. Most was dealt with quickly and we moved on. There was occasionally an incident though that the punishment lasted long term. Like the time they got caught trying cigars in Jake’s bedroom and then snuffing them out on the woodwork.
I don’t know why there were cigars in the house but those two managed to find them and get into a HEAP of trouble. Between them lighting up in Jake’s disaster of a bedroom and then not thinking before they spoke when confronted about the butts left lying around, they were doomed. The punishment lasted far longer than usual and both kids lost privileges to ride anything – horse, bike, little tykes car, scooters, roller blades – you name it, we took it away.
In order to get our point across even better, we decided one Sunday afternoon to invite my niece and nephew along on a trail ride. Jeana and Jake’s horses were free to use. They were not happy about staying at Grandma’s while we all went riding. It served as the exclamation point at the end of the “you messed up big this time” message we were trying to get across.
Doug and Heather fell deeply in love with our favorite pastime that day. Larry and I chuckled all the way home as Doug sat in our truck plotting how he was going to talk his dad into letting him buy a horse. My favorite scheme was his plan to not say anything right away. Doug planned on “casually” mentioning it sometime in the next week at the dinner table. His plan didn’t make it to the back door.
Doug hit the back door screaming, “Dad, I want a horse”!  Larry and I couldn’t decide what was funnier – Doug’s impatience or the look on John Darold’s face. He was doomed!
Before that summer was over, John Darold and his family were all riding with us. Jeana and Jake eventually got their “rides” back and our families have spent many weekends riding together since. We’ve even managed to bring a few more family members into the group of riders.
As we were reminiscing Sunday afternoon, we had to chuckle. Jeana and Jake’s cigar encounter had them in hot water for a while but what a great ending. Doug is now married and our families still love to get together every chance we get to go riding. Doug is also a ferrier by trade and provides for his family based on that love of horses we found in him that sunny afternoon.
When many families find the generations spending less time together, ours is usually on the phone every Friday night deciding if we can find a time we can all go riding. Whether we head south to the wooded trails that Rudolf Bennett provide or stay close to home, we love to get together for a casual afternoon of riding and yes, there is usually a whole lot of babbling going on as well.
I have heard the quote by Winston Churchhill many times, “there is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.”  In our case, that horse is also good for our family as a whole.


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