Horse Heroes, cont.
Taho was one of my favorites. Taho was a gorgeous, well-built chestnut quarter horse who was friendly, sweet, and agreeable. Nearly dog-like in his personality, Taho was ready for anything and went on many an adventure with the trail guides. Taho’s fun-loving personality took me back to that pure friendship available between horse and human.
Tex was one of the first rent horses to make himself a large comfy spot in my heart. Always sweet and gentle, Tex was a big gray gelding, flea-bitten, of course. He was untiringly patient, always quietly welcome to affection like a giant old dog. Tex taught me the importance of appreciating life on this earth, as it is all too fleeting. Tex’s time came one evening after we had left for the night. Many sorrowful tears were shed the next morning as a friend and I tenderly said goodbye to our gentle giant. Tex always seemed to have a quiet courage about him, and I am comforted to think that he left his earthly life with a calm bravery.
Navajo was a gorgeous tri-color paint, just as striking as a picture. It was easy to imagine him galloping across the plains with a feather in his mane and an Indian on his back. Navajo maintained this fantasy pretty well, too, with his spirited nature. He had a look in his eye that was both wary and wise, and you found yourself wondering what his eyes had seen. Navajo bore a touch of mysticism, making every ride seem like an adventure apart from time and space.
I remember the day Popcorn arrived at the stables. He clattered out the back of the trailer like a scared clumsy foal, but he was certainly not a young colt. The dents and lumps on his neck told a tale of long hardship for this poor fellow before he arrived with us. His eyes were wide and frightened, his head up high and ready to flee. We gave him his space for awhile and then soothed him with soft voices and loving hands. It was almost impossible to tell how old he was because he was just so beat up. Popcorn is a beautiful example of a horse’s devotion to people, and the complexity of their trust in us. He never seemed completely relaxed, not even when he was dozing. Despite this skittishness, Popcorn was always willing to do what he was asked, or if something scared him too much, to at least give his bravest attempt.
Popcorn came accompanied with a friend on his arrival, who we named Cracker Jack. Popcorn and Cracker Jack were quite a pair, both a little scruffy. Cracker Jack was a tall chestnut who seemed even taller when he held his head up to the sky like he did. He was skittish, too, but in a more feisty and less beaten-down way than Popcorn. Cracker Jack’s long legs gave him a floating feel when ridden, and I loved his happy-go-lucky spirit.
RomeoA little black horse, Romeo often wooed visitors with his big black eyes. He was practically attached at the hip to his best friend General, and we would hardly ever consider separating the two. Romeo seemed terrified to be without General, and he wasn’t afraid to let us know it. Romeo was sweet, but I always felt the he held a sort of resentment towards people. I’m not sure why I picked up on that from him, but I hope he has come to fully trust people.
Romeo’s best friend, and one of the kindest horses in the group. General was a light-colored sorrel, was very sweet, had that wisdom that some older horses show, and could be trusted completely. Beginner riders were often placed on General, but we were careful not to put anyone too obnoxious on him. General was just too sweet to have to deal with a rude rider, and we protected him.