|Austin on Jammer|
He wanted to go horse back riding. He picked out the tallest, longest-legged mare we have. She's always proved a gentle soul and the two of them bonded. He can't reach all the way up on her back to give her a good brushing but he can sure croon to her. "That's my baby." "You're a good girl."
Most kids are scared to sit way up in the air on Jammer's back. Not Austin. With some help he climbed up on Jammer and was grinning like he'd been handed a bouquet of lollipops.
I taught him how to stop her, turn her, and all around make her mind. Of the three grandchildren riding that day, Austin was the only one who wasn't intimidated by the horse. He pulled her around and made her mind without a squeal or a complaint. Being a long-legged Tennessee Walker Jammer and Austin were always way ahead of the rest of us I'd holler, "Turn her in a circle," and they make two or three wide circles until we caught up.
After the ride, Austin insisted on unsaddling and taking her hackamore off. He managed to unfasten the cinch but I had to pull the saddle down, but he took it from me and waddled to the tack room with it. Just like any good cowboy he took care of his horse and again crooned what a good baby she was.
As we walked back from the pasture after letting the horses loose, he said, "Jammer and me get along good. She's my baby and I love her." Then he grinned, whooped, and headed for the bike.
I couldn't be prouder of the way he treated the horse, enjoyed the ride, and took pride in the job he did. He has all the qualities I like to put into a cowboy/hero in my books.
Writing into the Sunset