The Old Mare…..Posted Friday, December 7, 2012, at 1:26 PM
Many of you who know me, know that when I was a young girl, I spent as much time as possible on my Aunt and Uncle's ranch in Owyhee County. That for me was where I really belonged. On that ranch I learned so much about life and life and death …hard work, play, sadness, and joy. Those lessons have been with me forever. I'm dismayed that more children then and now don't get to experience that kind of what I consider real life. I was able to ride horse to my Horse Loving Heart's content. I actually never dreamt of having my own horse, but when I was 11 years old, they gave me my first "very own horse" And my parents let me have her! I was amazed at that, though looking back, I realize my Aunt and Uncle would have spoken with my parents before hand. Everyone knew but me. It was about this time of year, and we had been to Nampa to visit my Grandparents and came home thru Grandview, to stop and visit my Aunt and Uncle. This in itself was not out of the ordinary. My Aunt handed me a photo of a little yearling filly and said that it was mine. I thought she meant the photo, and I loved it. When she made me realize that not only was the photo mine, but the subject of the photo. I had a horse! I remember being speechless! We went out to the corrals and I was able to see her. Not to touch her, as she was to that point, unhandled. We didn't bring her home that night, cuz we had to have a fence put up. I"m sure it didn't take long for that fence to be done, but it seemed forever to me, while waiting for my horse. When we finally did bring her home, I was so excited. My life with that horse started me along a path, that is still proceeding forward. I learned so much from that horse….. I did things wrong, (mostly I'm sure) and I did things right. I had my Dad for back up, though they let me pretty much do whatever. I was actually darn lucky with that horse, as I would NOT suggest getting a yearling filly for an 11 year old …but the relationship we built was simply awesome. She was from the Juniper Mountains in the Owyhees, I called her Brandy Juniper. Her mother, Missy, was not a particularly gentle grey mare, and I was never allowed to ride her, for that reason. I probably didn't (or maybe I did, sneak a ride from time to time, when no one was looking) I loved Missy.
Later, when I was about 25 my Aunt gave me a sister to that horse. She was also a yearling, and black, and beautiful. She also was from Missy, and a Thoroughbred stud. Between the 2 of them, Mariah was not a particularly gentle mare, but fair in her behavior. I learned, that now that I was older, that I could have fear of actually being bucked off. For whatever stroke of luck, Brandy never did do that, so I thought I was up for anything. I quickly learned that I was not. Mariah gave me my first concussion when she was about 3 years old. It was summer time, and she and I were out in the desert as we often were. To this time, I was had not yet been thrown, and really wasn't worried about it. I woke up in the hospital, thanks to Mike Landers for finding me out there, and had recieved a concussion, a broken ankle and just an overall bruised up body. It was summer time, I think about July. With that ankle, it was awhile before I could go out and try again. That saying of "When you get thrown from a horse, get right back on" is so true. If you don't, you have that fear inside your head and heart getting bigger and bigger, looming like a dark gloom over you. Well, once I could, I did go out to ride her again, but it seemed like a physical thing that I could NOT swing my leg over her back. I tried several times, and several times I didn't do it. If you've ever been 'there', you might know what I mean. I was so not proud of that. I had another horse and I used him alot, for nearly a year ….. so was not proud of that. Finally, my friend Penny came and got me and her, and we trailered out for a trail ride. We both knew I had to go 'cold turkey' and just 'do it'. Well, that day, we unloaded the horses from the trailer, and I did ride her. There were moments of …"Oh God, …." But it turned out well. Thanks for great friends who hold you up!
Mariah became that horse that did it all. Not many rode her, and few were comfortable on her. She was always 'ready' and willing to 'go off', ….. but she'd do anything you asked…. she was not afraid of anything. My daughter showed her a couple years in 4-H and broke home the Overall Grand Champion on her. Later, she barrel raced her in High School Rodeo, and did well. My then husband hunted off her, and packed game out, as did my oldest son. I showed her in both English and Western in Idaho State Shows, and we usually came out high. In my mind, she'd have done better, with a better showman than me. I did so many trail rides I can't being to imagine the miles we logged.
It was because of her that I began looking for more education in my horsemanship. She was alot of horse, and I knew I need all the "help" I could get, but I also knew she was worth learning for. Once I started the 'learning', it became addictive to go and see the possibilities of what you could accomplish with a horse. I couldn't ever wait to get back home and put it 'into practice' with her. She and i became a fairly amazing team, I honestly believe that wasn't much she wouldn't do for me. And there was nothing that I'd ask, that she wouldn't try. Along with all that, she was full of character. She'd let the horses out and take them for runs down 18th street. Hide in dark at night so you thought she was gone, steal food out of your hand, (even a burrito)
My Aunt and Uncle had long since passed away, and it always felt that Mariah was a 'link' to those times, and to them. I always hoped that they were happy that I kept and loved her all those years, and that she and I were doing things. I bred Mariah's hot headed self when she was about 10 years old. I waited til then, because I was busy learning her and up to then, hadn't wanted to take the 'time off' for her to have a baby. But with my Aunt and Uncle gone, and Mariah being my last link, I wanted one more to carry on that line. I bred her to an Arab stud over near Buhl. Many thought I was crazy adding Arab hot headedness to her an already hot mare, but I felt it was a challenge. The resulting colt, was a beautiful site to behold. Though I had "ordered" grey, he was just brown, but I was happy. And Mariah had found the love of her life. Of course she loved him, since he was hers, but she found after that, she loved anything little. Baby horses, little goats, dogs, chickens, sheep. She wanted them all. I had also planned to be present for the birth of this colt. I KNEW that I KNEW this mare well enough, that I would just simply know when it was time. i didn't. One day, out there where there had been one horse, was now 8 legs. She fooled me. I had sat up a few nights "knowing" "tonight is the night"…. yep, she fooled me. I forgave her. My kids would lay with that colt all a tangle of kids and legs and horse. He never had a chance of not being friendly. And Mariah would stand over them all protectively. He is the horse that my son now has.
After weaning him, I went back to using her. When he was about a year old, she got sick. Up til then, she'd never been sick a day in her life. She got real sick. I told her to the vet so many times, and it just wouldn't get better. I was afraid. Finally, I went to the vet, and she was seen by Lloyd Knight. I'll be the first to tell you that I've not always been fond of him…or more specifically, his gruff manner. He went on for a bit, and I finally asked "Are you telling me she's gonna die?" He said something to the point of "That's what I just said" I was devastated. But, I'll also be the first to tell you, he changed up her medications …. set her up for IV treatments, though he thought I might be wasting my money. He saved her life, and became a Hero to me. She got well, and seemed none the worse for her trouble. He said that her lungs would be compromised,…pnuemonia is what she had. He felt she wouldn't be of much use. I can remember one time, sitting at her feet and wondering if I should go ahead and make that decision that I'd been fighting with myself over. Suddenly, she laid down right next to me and laid her head on my lap. We sat there with her head under my hands for a long time. I'm so glad I fought for her.
I conditioned her, and got her healthy again, and she seemed fine. I used her for whatever I had ever used her for. Then I started doing Endurance riding. She loved those! She oould go for miles and miles…. and just loved it. Katie would ride her colt, and together we covered so much ground, with a well matched pair. You have to pass 'vet checks' along the way, and I was nervous the first time, and never said a word to the vets of any previous condition. She passed with all "A's and they never noticed a problem, whatsoever. It was after the pnuemonia that my daughter used her for barrel racing, and she never missed a beat then either.
As she grew older, I did start to let the younger horses fill in, and she started her retirement years. All she needed to do at these times, was to be pet and loved, and take care of the occasional 'baby'. There came the time, when going out to feed, if I didn't spot her right off …my heart would sink, and I'd wonder "Where is she!" then, she'd come astrolling around the corner of a barn or tree, and say,…."Here I am" She got smaller, and seemingly shorter, …and so many grey hairs…. I knew her time was coming. And I dreaded it, but I knew I'd be with her "when the time comes" Last year, I went and sat on her bareback for a while, ….just her and I, thinking and reliving those old days. Those days where I loved her, hated to love her, loved to hate her…. but never gave up on her and I cuz she never gave up on anything. The education that mare gave me is priceless and I will always treasure it. She passed away last month, and while I'm tormented at the loss, I'm also grateful she doesn't have to go thru a cold winter. She lived with friends til the end, in the foothills, and could roam as she pleased.
I'm grateful that she was able to spend the summer of 2011 in these lush hills of Cascade and have that one more chance to take care of a baby. I'm real happy that Katie came to visit and sit and reminisce with her about the days gone by, and that Jilly and Allysin were both able to sit on her. That meant so much to me, as I knew those opportunities were getting few.
Once …when she was retired and knew it, I was heading to a 'team sorting' …well, she loaded herself up in the trailer and wouldn't get out, (though I suppose I didn't ask her) so I took her along and let her watch. It seemed like a small wish to
These photos definitely show her age, though I will always remember her as a young vital energetic horse, which is how she'd want to be known.
These are the Beautiful foothills that she will Rest in Peace now. Just as she would have wanted.
She was able to be with a baby and new friends at the end….
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I am interested in this Community, County, and the beautiful state of Idaho. Most of my photos will be in Idaho, but from time to time, they will be my vacations aay from Idaho. You'll see lots of my Children and Grand children, along with others in my family. Of course there will be horses and horse related things, and things I photo'd horseback.