My mom is a breast cancer survivor, but the treatments to save her life ravaged her body. She now has neuropathy (damage to nerves of the peripheral nervous system), tremors, and add to all that, she's 74 years old.
She has begun developing an interest in my horses and I've sort of hoped that I could offer her an opportunity to ride at some point. But horses are ... horses, which means anything can happen, and usually does, so I've not really felt comfortable with the idea. Much as I love Java and Charlie, she's my MOM, right?
Well, a few weeks before Thanksgiving, I decided that I would get on Buddy and see just how broke he was. And in short - he's amazing. Sane, quiet, unflappable. Just like I hoped he would be. In fact, he's BETTER than I hoped he would be. I called mom and told her, "I finally have a horse that I can trust with you. His name is Buddy, and if you want to, you can ride him this Thanksgiving."
Thanksgiving dinner came, and after the dishes were cleaned up and the men were watching football, Mom said, "let's go out and see Buddy." And on the way to the pasture she said, "if you'll saddle him, I'll ride him." She told my niece, "you better take a good picture because this is the last time I'll ever ride a horse."
I helped her up onto the mounting block and helped her get into the saddle. I handed her the reins and explained that all she needed to do was point her thumb the direction she wanted to go and give him a hug with her legs. Her first words were, "He does what I TELL him!"
If you're a horse person, you'll probably notice that she's riding this horse with nothing but a halter and some reins hooked into the nose band. And her shoes aren't "regulation" or the least appropriate. And no helmet - I know.
But - the photo doesn't show EVERYTHING. I Photo Shopped out the lead rope and my right leg. The truth is, neither me nor the lead rope was the least bit necessary. Buddy took care of my mom as if he were walking on eggshells. He was - he IS - an unbelievable soul.
Mom had a great time. I know because she called me yesterday and said, "you know, I'd really like to come ride Buddy again." I said, "anytime. He's here for the rest of his life. I promise."
As if there were ever any doubt.
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