There is something wonderfully healing about being around an equine.
When Rich had his stroke and we were looking at downsizing, he thought we should sell Mica and Sundance. Sundance is in training and Mica hasn't been ridden in quite a while.
His reasoning was that "I'll never be able to ride again."
I told him that was not so. Never say never.
At that moment however I did have doubts but held out because without hope there seems to be nothing, right?
I asked him to help me out with Mica and see how much re-training she would need to get her riding again.
She was a roping mule when we got her, trained by Chris French of Rafter CF Training Mule Company.
This was long before Chris was a well known trainer.
Anyway Mica was herd sour and wanted to be with the other mules, but she quickly started thinking like a trained mule would. She knew her manners and what she should do, she just didn't quite want to do it.
Yesterday morning as we were eating breakfast and planning our day, I casually slipped in "We will catch Fred and saddle him up for you so you can ride with Ariel and I."
Rich barely blinked. I thought he didn't hear me. He smiled and nodded but didn't react. I pulled Ariel aside.
"We have to get Grandpa on Fred and take him for a ride. It will be good for him. I need your help to convince him."
Ariel agreed and said she'd help me clean up Fred and saddle him too.
We saddled the mules and got things ready. Ariel was going to ride the now very much loved Siera, I'd ride the little redhead, Sunshine...and Rich had his old stand by, Fred.
Next thing I knew Rich was mounted and wanted to know why we were still on the ground.
We were soon on our way. Ariel and Rich were in the lead and I of course was bringing up the rear.
We rode out on PeeWee's driveway towards the old cabin and then cut alongside the soybean field.
Fred walked with purpose and Siera just did her thing with Ariel. I enjoyed the view from behind.
I then realized that this was the absolute first time that Grandfather and Grand daughter had ridden together.
Two years ago Rich was ready to give up on riding when he went through throat cancer treatments and his TIA that affected his balance. This year he had the stroke, again he was ready to give up.
None of that was on his mind as he rode with Ariel. They didn't have to talk, they just rode quietly mostly side by side. Rich would give Ariel a direction or two, or maybe say something.
But mostly the ride was in peaceful silence. The sort of comfortable silence that riders get when they are concentrating and just enjoying the view from the saddle.
I thought that was a good idea.
I then had the two of them stop and turn their mules towards me.
My guess is that I won't have to urge the two of these guys to go riding again.