I love to ride – a lot. While I have ridden all my life, there were many years I was horseless. A career and family took precedence. After my son left home and I semi-retired – having my own equine – to ride when I wanted, where I wanted and as long as I wanted – took over my soul. I simply had to get back to me. Growing up, horses were my salvation. With the support of my husband, I obtained a broodmare and had her bred – twice. We delivered two healthy stud colts. The first, a gorgeous Tennessee Walker, the second, one of the most athletic John mules I have ever known. My broodmare died two hours after my John mule was born. When my mule was just 2 ½ months old, my Tennessee Walker (2 ½ years old at the time) broke his shoulder that required experimental surgery. He is still alive and doing fine – but due to the severity of the break, and the three titanium screws that remain in his shoulder, he will never be able to carry me to the back-country – that I crave. My mule was put down when he was just over 5 years of age from a series of medical issues. I owned a sweet quarter horse during this time – however, he was a place mark. I sold him when I started training my Tennessee Walker – before he was injured. This all took place over the course of 8 years. Although I felt like I had been run over by a semi – my luck simply sucked – I was still committed to having “that steed” that would be my partner for the long haul. One that would carry me to the back-country of Montana.
On June 15th, 2014 my life, as this then not so old cowgirl, changed – in an amazingly unexpected way, with the purchase of a mule named Beau. I met Beau shortly after my young mule was put down and for some reason knew that this 8-year old quarter horse John mule was meant to be my equine partner. He was consigned to the Jake Clark Mule sale in Ralston Wyoming, so, I knew our partnership was dependent on the winning bid. On sale day, I remember crying in the shower thinking – “what if everyone else wants my Beau – what will I do?”
After 10’s of thousands of dollars spent on equine surgeries – that didn’t result in a trail partner, I was determined to bring Beau home. June 15th, 2014, I did just that. Beau was mine.
In the last six years, while logging 13,373 miles, I have changed. I am in better physical shape and able to look at things differently. While fully aware of my surroundings and Beau…I spend a great deal of time fine-tuning my life. I review projects I am working on – in search of better/easier ways to accomplish my vision. I come up with new recipes and get so excited when they taste exactly how I imagined. I think of friends and their needs – what I can bake them next, what gift would be perfect or when I can get together, or where can we ride next. I dream of conversations missed with loved ones that have passed on and conversations to have with those still here. I wonder if I will remember each moment 20 years from now and find solace in the fact that I had a great life and lived it! I think about having to say goodbye to those I love – including Beau. Sometimes my thoughts break my heart. But then I shift my thoughts to all the loved ones in my life because of
horses and most especially Beau. Heck, I’ve made friends with folks across the country – that have actually driven out here just to ride with me and Beau in the back-country. That really makes me smile.
I have enjoyed sharing our adventures with friends and the world and preserving those memories on paper for myself. So, on this day – six years after swinging a leg over my bay mule Beau – I am thankful for the joys I have realized and for a supportive husband that understood my need to have a Beau in my life. I can’t wait to see what our future has planned. Life is fantastic.