Monday, August 12, 2013

My Horse, Cindy, and me

I have been working on these scanned slides all evening and find there are only five minutes until midnight in this location! I almost missed my post-a-day since January First! Special thanks to all my friends who are reading this!

Cindy was the $75 horse my folks bought me when we moved from Scotia to The Farm in 1950. When we went to pick her out, they offered us an Appaloosa cross named Sis for another $65, a deal, so we got her, too. Both mares were pregnant. I think I was wearing these clothes at that time, and so this is probably when the horse and I were quite new to each other.
At this remove, it seems that we were ill-prepared and ill-suited to the task of properly caring for horses. If I tell the truth, I liked reading horse books better than actually hanging out with horses. Besides, I had absolutely no experience with them, and very little idea of the care they would require. But I did learn how to properly cinch a saddle girth, and how to stick my thumb in the corner of the mouth to get Cindy to open up for the bit.
My father had played polo in college (They used the horses belonging to the U.S. Cavalry at the University of Arizona.) As far as I know, the Cavalry didn't have much of a role in World War II, but my father was in college in the early 1930s and there was still an active unit then. He also had extensive experience doing farm work with mules as he was growing up. (Are mules tougher than horses?) But since there was always a culture of managing things without spending money in our family---nothing going on there for softies---I don't recall big expenditures for grain and hay. The horses were allowed to forage in the pasture all winter as long as the snow cover wasn't too deep.
Dad did have rudimentary hoof-trimming skills, but he was out of practice and getting this done was quite a strenuous project.
I have been quite captivated by pictures of the horses and colts in slides taken by my mother that I just had scanned. There is also a series of great shots of my siblings in the haymow door, taken from below. I am now inventing methods of labeling and organizing all these pictures to share with my family. These slides have been in closets since the 1960s and most of them are unfamiliar. It is a true delight to have a chance to work with them.
There is more to tell, of the birth of foals, of Sis's case of mange that turned her into a pale blue ghost in the meadow, and which was eventually cleared through veterinary advice after she lost virtually all her hair. Of the Palomino stallion with the crippled leg. And especially of riding down the side of the long hayfield on my Cindy, the three-quarter Morgan Horse with the white star on her forehead.
That's the memory thread for tonight; I hope not to become unbearable with these. Good Night!

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