Regardless of a winter reluctant to “give it up already” the birds are glorious in Spring song. The loudest being the Red-Winged Blackbirds! Oh my, oh my, shout it out one and all, shout it out!!
Only a hint of green presses out through the brown leafless landscape, reaching for sun and Summer. Rivers and creeks rage with coursing flood waters, “Look out, we’re coming through.” It’s like watching a miracle happen, movement everywhere, winds, water, birds, even people move more freely with discarded heavy winter coats. Welcome to Spring in the Midwest.
Casey and Doyle Sandman provided a place for my girls and myself a couple of miles outside of New Ulm, Minnesota, at their Kaboy Up Arena while I spoke at the Community Center in town. Casey greeted me on horseback with a group of other women on a warm, sunny Sunday-afternoon ride. I parked the truck and trailer next to the arena, unloaded the horses, threw a sheet on Spirit and with Liska Pearl in tow we joyfully joined the ride. The other horses were a bit, let’s say disturbed, by the sight of…. “NO, not those Fjords!” For whatever reason, whether its the mane or markings or what, Fjords can easily upset “regular” horses. I smile. My Fjords are rarely upset by anything.
Kaboy Up Arena was already busy when I arrived. Besides working as a correctional officer, Casey offers boarding and events throughout the year. A resident trainer offers lessons and training. Busy place, nice atmosphere. I had the “Saloon” to myself–a western style building with restrooms, kitchen, and lounging area. I spent two nights.
I rode through New Ulm in 2010, coming up from Texas, having lost Honor. Then, I rode the big paint gelding, Hart. Essie Pearl carried Claire Dog and in we came–escorted by Duane Kitzberger and his team of perfect Percheron draft horses pulling a caisson canon and outriders. Someone tipped him off and they thought it might be fun, to, “Bring her in, in style,” said Duane. This year, I visited Duane, now 84, living in New Ulm’s care facility. I gave him a book and showed him the photos from 2010.
This is a German Catholic community much like the one I grew up in. The accents are still thick as are the jokes. It has not changed much.
Among those attending the talk in New Ulm were folks from Butterfield, Minnesota, with whom I had stayed, in their real-but-renovated livery stable.
I am now in Fairbault, Minnesota, giving a private dinner talk this evening at the home of Julie Lambert. Julie heard about my ride from a friend who lives in Mexico of all things and in a round-about-way invited me in. The horses are comfortable in a large round pen and will be exercised shortly. I have been plied with more food than I can imagine eating while spending a lively evening of talk with new friends.
To each and every one of you, as I am adding new friends to my heart roster, and touched by old friends from the past, a heartfelt, “Thank You.”
Your Lady Long Rider, Bernice