09 July 2011

The Other Side of the Lens: New Old Timers

My little vaqueros, in the only photo I took today
Today was the big day: Dad, the kids and a friend, and I rode in Magdalena's Old Timers Parade! A while back Dad arranged with a local hunting guide and outfitter to graze his horses on our land north of town, and in exchange he has been taking us on short rides to get us used to the horses (I rode constantly as a kid but until a few weeks ago had been on a horse all of 3 times in the last 20 years) and to lead up to longer rides later this summer. Somehow the subject of the Old Timers Parade came up... and there we were today, with me on the other side of the camera for a change!
Dad, looking like a pro riding the steadfast Damacio, led Laz and Maggie on Goliath the Imperturbable Mule
To be honest, it was a lot of fun but also a lot more work than I'd anticipated. The cars, buggies, and other horses in the parade and the big noisy crowds along the route provided far more commotion than the horses are used to, and most people who don't ride have no idea how sensitive horses are to their actions. I sure am now; I've been riding Blaze, one of our friends' stalwart pack and guide horses, and his usually calm self dissolved into a skittering, prancing hot mess as the noise level and crowds grew. The kids' friend was on the paint mare Prescita, who is a bit high-strung but usually sweet-tempered, but who just about jumped out of her skin (and out from under her thankfully-experienced rider) as it all pressed in on her. Big kudos to her for handling Prescita so well and keeping her cool.

The big sis of Maggie's BFF rode the very skittish Prescita, who reared in the middle of Highway 60, and I rode my usual steed, Blaze, who decided to be skittish as well -- we had our hands full but stayed the course.
Dad and the kids had much calmer mounts, and we all made it through by staying calm and focusing on the riding even as we smiled and waved to the crowds. I did have to mouth off a bit (my mama-bear side does come out sometimes) to people who drove or rushed way too close, and I rode right up to the Forest Service trucks to ask them not to blare their horns and sirens, something they'd done in parades past. When we got home, I retired into the A/C to shower and watch movies the rest of the day -- fittingly, The Missing (set and filmed here in New Mexico) was on and I got to enjoy some serious horse action, this time from the comfort of my cool lounge chair....

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