Alex adopted me a number of years ago. He actually belonged to the neighbor on the east side of me, yet spent hours hanging
out with his kitty friends that lived with my neighbors to the west. He traveled through my yard going back and forth between
home and friends.

At that time I had been laid off at work and was spending more time in my home office and patio area. Alex began spending more and more time on one of my Adirondack chairs, during which we had great conversations. He is very vocal and expressive. He also started to follow me into the house. He was unbelievably well mannered. I set out a water bowl for him. I was also rather allergic to him.

An allergy prescription and a year later, I set out a food bowl. I still cannot keep Alex in the house overnight (swollen yucky eyes and congestion issues). Yet he knows that he is welcome to join his kitty friends next door in a comfy kitty igloo in the kitties’ house. It’s a perfect arrangement.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

A Buckskin Horse (January 31, 2010)

It was spring break and I had traveled to southern Nevada with a group of friends who lived in the Las Vegas area. I was staying at the ranch home of my boyfriend’s parents. Jerry’s father, Jim – or Jimmy as he was most commonly addressed – was the manager of the Taylor ranch (Frank Taylor was a New York millionaire who actually spent a fair amount of time living at his ranch).

My first morning on the ranch was filled with watching dozens of strutting peacocks, being introduced to the cowboys, and exploring the barn and corrals. One corral was round and not the usual square or rectangle shape. It was built like a room with long boards hammered in place one atop the other, rather than the more familiar post and rail style corral. It was the first time this city girl had ever seen anything like it. Inside the round corral, sitting atop the most beautiful buckskin quarter horse I had ever seen was Jimmy.

I immediately asked if I could ride him. Jim swung down from the saddle and held the beautiful horse’s haltered head as I placed my foot in the stirrup and rather clumsily plunked myself in the saddle. As he handed me the reins, he asked if I had ridden much. “Not really, just some of my cousins’ old horses.”

Jim then explained to me that rather than hold both reins in my left hand, as I was doing, I needed to lightly hold one rein in my right hand and one in my left hand. He further instructed me that when I wanted to turn Buck to the left, I should gently pull the rein in my left hand to the left and if I wanted to turn right follow the same gentle right hand pull. And with that, he left the corral.

The spring sun was shining, the palm fronds moved in the gentle breeze and I was riding the huge buckskin colored quarter horse first one way around the circular corral and then gingerly turning him and riding the other way around the corral. At this point I decided we would both soon fall asleep and thought maybe I should take it up a notch.

I gave Buck a gentle nudge with the heels of my borrowed cowboy boots and he smoothly transitioned into a gentle loping stride. I was delighted. My long hair was flowing up and down behind me and I was having the time of my life. At this point the gate opened and my future husband stepped into the corral and stopped dead in his tracks. The look on his face alarmed me and I pulled both reins back and the horse stopped moving.

In a whisper, Jerry said, “what – are – you – doing – on - that – horse?”

I replied, “your dad said I could ride him.”

“He’s not broken, why do you think you are single reining?”

“I don’t know what single reining is.”

“It’s when you pull the left rein to turn left and the right rein to turn right.”


By now Jerry had walked across the corral and was holding the reins so I could get off the horse. I told him that Buck and I had a great time riding around and that he had obeyed every signal I had given him. “Hmm,” Jerry replied, “beginners luck.”

Later that year, the beautiful buckskin quarter horse named Buck was presented to me as a wedding gift, by then he was fully trained for riding (even beginner riders).

I'll continue to share stories from my 'other life' from time to time.
Chat later

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