Back to My American Quarter Horses

After five incredible months as an AQHA intern, it’s time to giddy-on up to the next adventure.

Ginger, Misty, Larry and Goldie hang out in the pasture at home in Minnesota. Photo courtesy of Annette Montplaisir

Ginger, Misty, Larry and Goldie hang out in the pasture at home in Minnesota. Photo courtesy of Annette Montplaisir

During my AQHA internship in Amarillo, I was rarely troubled by homesickness. I quickly settled into my new life and developed a routine, made friends and experienced the highlights of what Amarillo has to offer. These include going to a drive-in movie theater for the first time (this should be a bucket list item for everyone), mountain biking in Palo Duro Canyon, and even taking in the Texas music scene (I never thought I’d see so many Texas-shaped tattoos in my entire life).

If there’s one thing that did invoke a twinge of longing for home, it was bright sunny days cooled by a gentle breeze – perfect days for horseback riding. Days like this, I could picture myself at home in Minnesota, cantering bareback down the road on my horse “Misty” or saddling up “Larry” to work on jumping in the pasture. Boy, have I missed the feeling of riding a horse!

My wonderful parents have taken great care of my steeds while I’ve been away, but from what I hear it has not been an easy task. I’d like to think the horses are pining for their master as they anxiously await my return. But a quick reality check tells me they’re having a jolly-good time making my parents’ lives difficult.

Our herd consists of three mares and a single gelding. Larry the gelding seems to think that instigating the mares to play by incessantly biting them is a great idea.

Now, our mares take their lives pretty seriously, so they’re typically not amused by Larry’s shenanigans. He usually ends up getting kicked and shunned from the hay feeder. You’d think he would learn, but he doesn’t. A few weeks ago,the poor guy ended up on stall rest from a nasty kick wound on his leg.

My mom took him for walks on a daily basis so he could get out and about. It was on one of these walks that Larry decided our dogs (that he has only seen about a million times) were horse-eating monsters and he must flee immediately. Ninety-nine percent of the time, Larry has impeccable ground manners and is probably the most bomb-proof of our four horses, so I think he just wanted an excuse to be a goof ball. He ripped the lead rope from my mom’s hands and galloped a mile back home to his girls.

As if my blood pressure hadn’t already risen to a dangerous level after hearing about that incident, I learned that a few days later, he demolished a chunk of our fence. What next already?! Please don’t answer that, because I don’t want to know.

Sams Misty, my American Quarter Horse mare, has the ultimate pony mentality. She’s wickedly smart and will do anything she can to push your buttons. Her No. 1 victim is my poor mom. Misty is also what we like to call “bodacious,” in the voluptuous sense of the word. And after this winter, let me tell you – she has become quite bodacious.

Three days after I return home from Amarillo, Misty and I will be heading to a four-day 4-H horse camp to instruct a beginner jumping class. The class primarily involves teaching two-point position and trotting over ground poles, so nothing strenuous, but I still wanted my steed to be fit when I return home to her.

I convinced my mom to start riding her for me, so a few weeks ago, the two went on a trail ride in a nearby state park. My dad and brother tagged along to try out their new mountain bikes and exercise our dogs.

My dad texted me a picture of my mom seated proudly atop my plump horse. Misty looked irritated, presumably because she was trying to get away with something naughty and my mom wasn’t going to let her. I must add that my mom is an incredible horsewoman and a fantastic rider, and Misty is one of the most talented horses I’ve ever ridden. But for some reason, my mom and Misty are not compatible. I received another text a few hours later saying, “Your mom got dumped.”

Thankfully, she was just fine, but we were both grateful she had been wearing her riding helmet.

So, off I go, back to Minnesota, to wrangle my bucking broncos! My time as the online communications and publications intern has come to an end, and it seems I’m needed at home. I know for a fact that when Larry sees me coming with a halter, he’ll pretend he saw something more interesting on the opposite side of the paddock.

I’m a strong believer that everything in life happens for a reason and that we’re all part of a greater plan. It was not in my plan to live in Amarillo for five months, but it was definitely in God’s plan. My time here has been a blessing. The people I’ve met, the skills I’ve learned and the life experiences I’ve gained have all set me up for my next adventure.

It’s time for me to keep chasing that runaway racehorse called life.