Jan. 23, 1990
This is a story about my day & evening at the barn with my 4 year old nephew Jacob [Today he prefers to be called Jake!]
It was a lovely day, in the 50's which is warm for January. Jacob rode his red battery operated Jeep outside the pasture & all around the grounds until the battery went dead. That's when he decided it was time to ride.
He had his choice: we could shuck corn before we rode or after we rode but it had to be done because the corn added heat to the horses winter feed. He chose "after". What else?
Since he'd be riding his new pony "Peanut Butter & Jelly" and she was Eclipse's girlfriend, I'd decided to ride Eclipse. I don't get a chance to ride Eclipse as much as I'd like.
You see, Eclipse was my brother's horse. Gary passed away 5 months ago and all his guy friends were asking to ride Eclipse. They'd seen Gary ride him and saw for themselves that without a doubt, Eclipse was as fast as the wind and as light on his feet; but not a mean bone in his body.
This pony had a genuine heart of gold. Whenever Gary would get Eclipse from the pasture or while he was grooming him, Eclipse would lick Gary's hand as if to say "I'm so glad to see you". The first time I visited the barn after Gary's accident, while he was in a coma, my friend Tom took me there at night straight from the hospital. I walked into the barn's narrow center aisle and Eclipse put his head over his dutch door and did something to me he'd never done before. He licked my face.
Maybe he knew I had just come from seeing Gary or maybe he just knew how much my heart hurt. Either way I was taken aback. That was the first, but not the last show of affection I received from
Oops! Sorry for babbling. Back to our ride! Jacob, wearing his chaps and a caliente hard hat that matched his saddle pad [which of course I custom made] rode alongside Eclipse and I. It was about 5:30pm & starting to get dark so there wasn't going to be any jumping lessons today, just a nice quiet ride around the pasture. Or so I thought!
We were walking together & chatting at the far end of the pasture when I heard the sounds of thundering hooves. Here comes the herd: Shetan leading the pack & obviously mad that I'm riding Eclipse, followed by Rockin'Rita, Ginger [a big Tennessee Walking mare] & Petunia the Donkey.
They circled Jake & I at a gallop and continued up the field only o circle the huge hay roll and head back toward us but now at lightening speed.
They passed real close to PJ & Eclipse without stopping or slowing down. PJ & Eclipse were calm, Jake was not scared and I couldn't help giggling.
The herd's race around the pasture and around Jake & I went 3 lapses full tilt. I could just tell Shetan was trying to stir up trouble, but Eclipse stayed surprisingly calm and quiet and Thank the Lord, so did PJ. Jacob & I got a kick out of the entertainment.
Shetan, realizing he wasn't starting trouble or even the slightest hint of mischief, stopped running. Of course, everyone else also stopped. Shetan, slowly & methodically left the herd, walked over to me and Eclipse, then quickly reached out and bit Eclipse. I growled! Shetan retreated at a very slow walk but didn't go too far. He quietly turned around only to follow us. Wherever Jake & I rode Shetan stayed close by pretending to graze but it was obvious his attention was on us.
Jacob really enjoyed himself. It was a night we'll never forget. He told me we should ride again when Eclipse is "refresh-er-lated" ... Later to be defined as quiet. What a chuckle!
Thanks for letting me share this with you