CLOUD 9 WALKERS
New Year's Day, 2008 on the Louisiana shore of the Gulf of Mexico
(Double click on arrows to see videos.)
Riding Gideon, a 3-1/2-yr-old Missouri Foxtrotter gelding, at sunset. The waves always scare the horses at first, but he acclimated quickly.
LEFT: The view out of the back patio door of the beach house -- horses camping on a picket line! RIGHT: The view out of the front door -- this is where a truck and horse trailer belong!
LEFT: Some hitching posts, huh? RIGHT: 6-yr-old Riley tags along (or leads the way!) in the golf cart.
Smoking Gun, a gorgeous 3-1/2 yr old buckskin Tennessee Walking Horse gelding, lies down after breakfast on the picket line to soak up the warm sunshine. He barely wakes up when I sit on him.
I'm having a blast on Huckleberry in the waves.
I love to run, and this magnificent Tennessee Walking Horse gelding (Huckleberry) indulges my need for speed!
Great mother/daughter picture. Angie on Bling Bling and Allie on Sundrop.
The Hatcher family -- Chad, Suzanne, Angie and Allie riding their Tennessee Walking Horses past the seagulls.
Yep! We're running full blast, and that's Allie on Sundrop, with only one foot on the ground! (I'm riding Cisco.)
We gaited most of the days that we were on the beach, and most of the time, but this one day at lunch, we were starting the new year out with an adrenaline rush!
And for those who think that running a gaited horse ruins it, continue to scroll down . . . look at what we did after we raced.
Laura on Bling Bling and Allie on Sundrop race and beat the dogs!
LEFT: Me riding Gideon, on New Year's Eve, getting him desensitized to the terrorizing surf, with Bailey and Tex; and RIGHT: Me sloshing Huckleberry on New Year's Day, through the deeper water, trying not to get my shoes wet!
Suzanne on Cisco and Angie on Bling Bling, headed toward the seagulls.
Me racing Bling Bling -- he has one foot on the ground!
A few miles down the beach, in the middle of nowhere, the golf cart developed some problems and stalled, and we were way too far to call someone to come pick it up, and leaving it there left it vulnerable to anyone who might come along and 'borrow' it.
I try to carry things in my saddle bag that I think we might need, such as a hoof pick, extra girth, extra reins, LUNCH, etc., but one thing that none of us had in our bags was a towing rope. We pondered the problem for awhile, and took a lunch break. Allie and I wanted to run, so we took our horses and played while everyone else ate.
Would you believe that there, lying in the sand, apparently washed ashore from one of the large ships, was a rope, just the perfect length for towing a golf cart? No kidding -- it was half buried and at first glance, I thought I was imagining it. Then I was worried that it was buried too deep to pull up, but it came right out. The diameter was almost as big as my wrist, and it had a big fray right in the middle, but we tied a knot at the fray, Chad hooked the cart up, and I dallied the other end on my saddle horn. Huckleberry stepped forward and towed while Riley kept it steered slightly right, to keep the rope from pressing into my thigh.
After awhile, I knew that Huckleberry needed a break, so I switched the rope over to Krystal, who was riding Gideon, and she towed the golf cart for awhile. Later, we switched horses and I rode Gideon, towing the cart the final leg back to the beach house, and at the end, there was a berm which we had to go past, then negotiate a 180-degree turn back. Thankfully, Gideon's side passing training and sensible nature made this somewhat dangerous task easy, and he tolerated my flipping the rope over his head from right to left when we changed directions. This horse is only 3-1/2 years old, and demonstrates what our gaited breeds can do when we need to call on them.
LEFT: Chad ties the rope onto the golf cart so that we can use the horses to tow it back to the beach house. Bailey hopped in and volunteered to be the pilot! RIGHT: I hooked Huckleberry up first, while Chad instructs little Riley how to drive. Riley was the lightest person available for this important task, and he did a GREAT job!
Different angles, but this is Huckleberry digging in and pulling the golf cart, with little Riley driving and his cousin, Allie supervising.
Huckleberry to the rescue!
Gideon takes his turn -- can you tell that he's leaning into the load?
Gideon saves the day -- he hauled the final leg, and then had to negotiate a 180-degree turn.
The last sunset of 2007, and yes, I took this picture from the back of my horse.
Thank you, Lord, for this incredible experience.
Cloud 9 Walkers
P. O. Box 878
Hardin, Texas 77561-0878
(55 minutes east of Houston)
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