In Search of Mr. Slick
Brrrrrr! What a cold finish to fall and start to winter. I always write my editorial just a couple of days before we send the current month’s issue of the Corral to the printer. So right now, we are between snow storms, Christmas is next week, (of course I’m not ready), and it’s cold! I’m not just cold when I’m outside; I’m cold inside too. If it were summer I’d be turning the air conditioner down to 70. But in the winter, it’s all I can do to stay away from the thermostat so I don’t turn it up to 72, or 3 or 4. Why is that?
Enough complaining already! The highlight for me and Joe this past month was taking advantage of the few days of nice weather Mother Nature gifted us to get out on the trails with the horses. We met up with our good friend Kathy King in Hinckley, Ohio. It was perfect sweater weather and the trails were in good condition considering the time of year.
The horse I originally planned on riding that day didn’t want to be caught and was covered in mud. So rather than spend time walking around the pasture trying to convince him we’d have fun together, (not to mention the time it would take to knock all that mud off), I decided to take our little Arabian out. Joey, who came to us this year as a rescue, was very anxious to leave his buddies in the pasture, not realizing he was heading for a trailer instead of the barn.
This was Joey’s first time on the trail since we started his rehabilitation. We gave him a new home with hopes, that in time, he will be our daughter Kelsie’s new horse. As some of you know, Kelsie has Down Syndrome and lost her previous horse, Mr. Slick, to bone cancer a couple of years ago. Slick was the ideal riding companion for a person with special needs. He was still a fairly young and strong Rocky Mountain Horse, had the sweetest disposition, and gaited at all the right times. But the most important thing to us as parents, was that Slick truly acted as Kelsie’s partner and seemed to have a special understanding of the treasure he carried on his back. Kelsie was able to progress with her riding and ended up not needing side walkers in the arena. This gave her a great sense of empowerment and confidence. Slick was also well behaved for Kelsie out on the trail as we ponied him to control any unforeseen mishaps. Whenever she was on Mr. Slick’s back there was a smile on Kelsie’s face. That’s what every parent wants to see, special needs or not.
Joe and I miss Mr. Slick but Kelsie misses him more; to the point that riding is no longer an important part of her life. So Joe and I have been on a mission to find another riding buddy for Kelsie, one that will put that smile back on her face as she mounts up. We are hoping it will be sweet and kind little Joey once he is where he should be for his weight and condition. (Joey came to us needing another 200 pounds on his slight form and with a kidney condition making it harder to build up his weight. We diligently work on muscle development, nutrition, and give him lots of affection. He’s done remarkable in the short time he’s been with us but he’s a difficult keeper.) However, if Joey is not the perfect horse for Kelsie, we will just keep looking. We know Mr. Slick’s spirit is out there somewhere.
By the way, Joey did great on our ride. We took it really easy and let Joe and Kathy ride a head at a faster pace and carry on their gab fest. (Joe is a professional talker but I think he met his match with Kathy!) Joey and I were perfectly happy at a slow walk, quietly taking in the sights and smells of a mild winter’s day. You know, I’m thinking he might just be the one we’ve been looking for after all, because I’m sure I saw a bit of Mr. Slick looking at me through Joey’s big beautiful eyes as I thanked him for the ride. And that folks, warms my heart!
Until next month, Happy New Year and may God bless all the trails that you ride.