Jan 2, 2023

Everybody Needs a Blue in Their Lives

In the summer of 2000, I saw a pony in the paper (remember paper ads?) and decided the boys needed a pony. The real story – even unbeknownst to me – I wanted a horse. I was dealing with some fear issues having not been on a horse for some 30 years. When we found Blue, his owner said “if you have problems with him, it’s you, not him!” I took that as a challenge.

Blue gave me back my confidence and because he was a such a good boy, he really became McCain’s horse more than mine. And the only horse my sister, Ann, would ride after a not so good experience on our Ginger.

He had some lameness issues and when the boys no longer rode with us regularly, he was semi-retired to become the guest horse or the horse we would let the “city folk” ride. He loved kids, always putting his head down to greet them. My great niece, Morgan, sat on him a year ago – the last rider to throw a leg over him and he loved it.

Blue was a good herd boss, welcoming in new horses with ease. He was never aggressive but ran the herd with quiet strength. He wasn’t a tall guy – in his youth probably stood just shy of 15 hands. But he made up for it in girth. Someone once asked if he was part Percheron. No. He was our first registered quarter horse and had a butt to make all quarter horses proud. We used to always say “when he hauls ass, it takes two loads!”

He was born in Canada – we were told on a PMU farm. He was registered blue roan, but his ears were the only thing that gave that away. He was all black and would shine like a patent leather shoe in the springtime.

When we were still learning to ride, Blue would throw in a spook every now and then to keep us on our toes, I think. He would spook at the weirdest things – some we saw and some we didn’t. He photographed much better than he actually looked (don't we all). He had a big head and a slightly Roman nose. But all part of his charm. I always said if he could talk, he would sound like Elvis, but might resemble a beaten up Rocky Balboa.

I give McCain credit because he had the roughest trot of any horse I have ever rode. It was a little better at a lope, but he would crossfire often and then that would be a challenge to ride. But he made up for it in kindness. There was nothing he liked better than to be groomed. He would try to push the other horses out of the way to get his turn again and again.

This morning he had carrots and had his winter coat and mane brushed out. It's so much better to let them go on a good day.

God Speed, Blue. Rest in peace. You earned it.
Reggie Blue 1996-2023

Apr 26, 2022

The Friday Before Mother's Day Ride

The Friday Before Mother's Day Ride started in 2001 as a way to do what we really wanted to do for Mother's Day - ride our horse.  It continued through 2017 until the Oak Creek Trail closed due to damage on the trail.  This spring, the trail repairs have been complete and we have decided, with short notice, to bring the ride back for those who wanted to ride.

The ride begins at Valparaiso, Nebraska, north of Lincoln.  Park at the trail head on the west end of main street near the grain elevator.  Plan to ride out at 10:00 AM. 

We will ride 7 miles to Loma and stop for lunch.  Bring a sack lunch and a halter and lead for your horse and take a load off.  Return to Valparaiso at any time.  Stay for social hour, bring a camp chair, share some snacks and your favorite beverage at the trail head.  Water is located in Valparaiso across the street from the trail head on the corner.

This is an invitation to ride.  There are no ride fees or trail bosses.  If you would like to contribute to the NRD for a trail donation, there is a place for donations at the kiosk.  If you do not want to ride the entire trail, you can return to Valparaiso at your leisure.  Everyone is responsible for their own transportation.    

This is IMPORTANT:  If there is rain resulting in wet trails the day before or the day of, the ride will be canceled.  The trail repairs have not settled and hooves on wet trails will cause damage.  The current dry conditions will have no impact.  

The horse trail runs in the grass alongside the limestone trail.  Ride on the horse trail where it exists.  This trail is shared by hikers, joggers, and bikers and poop on the limestone is yucky for them, so enjoy the turf of the horse trail.  It is a slight uphill ride to Loma, some open areas and some timber.  If timed just right, the plum blossoms might be blooming. 

Be respectful of all riders.  No running or carrying on.  If your horse kicks, put a red ribbon on its tail so others are aware.  No dogs on the trail.  You are your own responsibility.  

If you join us, enjoy a nice ride with friends in celebration of Mother's Day. 

Follow Google Maps to the Trail Head in Valparaiso.

There is no camping in Valparaiso.  The nearest equine camp is Branched Oak Lake near Raymond.