Most of my riding attention has gone to Trax lately, and the other horses have been getting pushed aside. Part of the problem is that he is and probably always will be my favorite horse to ride. But I knew it was time to devote some time to the rest so when I was invited to go out on a little trail ride, I loaded up Killian, and we went for a little jaunt.
One of the reasons behind this trail ride, besides the "Hey I wanna ride my horse" reason, was because one of my clients was going to sell her horse and my partner Mary was thinking about buying him. She wanted to see him in person and see how he was out and about.
The horses name is Winston, and he is a big (as in wide) sorrel, 18 year old retired ranch horse. At one time he was built like brick house, now he is just out of shape and flabby, a little hollow behind the shoulders, and very hard to fit for a saddle, because like Killian he has very wide shoulders. ( I will spare you the story of trying to convince this girl that I knew exactly which saddle he needed and it was sitting right in my shop) Regardless of that he is a good boy, very handsome, and probably a very good buy for the money she was asking. The only thing that completely turned me off about him, was that there were times when he seemed less than sound to me, although not actually lame either. ( I have a perfectly good baby sitter who is totally sound, as does Mary, so neither one of us will be buying this horse. )
As we rode along, Mary on her own horse, Winston carrying his rider, and another gal on a lovely grey gelding, I kind of took a special pride in realizing that except for the young grey who competes in barrels on a regular basis, my old horse was actually in better shape than the other two horses who are younger than him. This was particularly amazing since he doesn't get a ton of exercise. I think some of it is genetics, but I could be wrong.
Anyway, we rode next to Winston he and Killian matched each others paces, never pinned an ear at each other, and handled all the distractions like the seasoned horses they are. They both have that nice easy lumbering trot. The kind that eats up ground but doesn't require posting. I call it the cattle searching trot. They rode through water, up and down hills, under bridges, past traffic, past flapping flags. Just good solid mounts. No training needed.
At one point I dropped back to ride along side Mary and Winston moved up with the grey and out of our line of vision. Killian totally took me by surprise by calling out to Winston. I won't say that he doesn't call out after his herd mates, but never on a trail ride, and never to a horse he just met. Once Winston came back into sight, he stopped calling.
We experimented a little. The gal rode Winston down into the lower part of the wash and I rode Killian up high. He called and called, and even when he could see him, did not take his eyes off of him to see where he was going. Darnedest thing I have ever seen.
When we returned to the trailers before we gave them a nose to nose minute to say good by. They rubbed noses, kind of nuzzling and wuffling each other, no displays of dominance, just saying good bye I guess. When Winston drove off in his trailer, Killian gave one last call of good bye and Winston called back once. Then Killian turned around and loaded up in the trailer to go home.
I guess they were two old ranch hands swapping stories about their lives.