Saturday, April 14, 2012

Rose Thorns

Photos by Kelly Paige

Today was my first attempt to participate in a public event since my riding accident back in January.  We participated in the Rose Festival Parade in Tombstone.  I guess I should have realized by the dark storm clouds in the sky that I was better off staying home.  It was a cold and windy day.  Not much rain, thankfully, but unusually cold for an April day in Arizona. 

Our preparations at the stables went smoothly enough, or at least I thought so.  We elected to keep all the horses in last night because of the weather, but still everyone was able to tend to their steeds and be ready to roll at the appointed time.  The weather was lousy, but not lousy enough to result in the cancellation of the parade--something all of us would have accepted without complaint.  We had two new riders participating in their first event since passing their final riding tests last Wednesday. 

Heading up Allen Street

When we arrived in Tombstone, things continued to go smoothly, until I overheard someone saying that our new sidesaddle rider had forgotten her bridle.  This was a problem since we couldn't just leave her behind by herself.  One other horse and rider (me in this case since I was her escort) would have to stay behind or her horse would have panicked when the rest of the herd rode away.  Some people began to suggest that I just tow her along by her lead rope.  I rejected this idea on the grounds that if her horse broke away she might end up being dragged up Allen street by her stirrup. 

Instead, we decided to get someone to bring us another bridle.  I called my wife, who was only 30 minutes away to bring a bridle from our tack shed.  Meanwhile someone else called a friend and asked them to go back to Fort Huachuca and get a bridle from there.  It turned out to be a fortuitous phone call as we soon had another problem on our hands. 

Lady escort

Somehow, we managed to lock the keys to one of our trucks inside the truck. Unfortunately, the three troopers who had been in the truck had left their uniform in there.  We then contacted the individual who was on his way to the fort (thank goodness for cell phones) and asked him to get the spare keys to the truck and bring those along with the extra bridle.  Fortunately, all the tack and keys made it to us before we had to step out on the parade. 

The parade itself went fine.  We had the usual incidents of audience interaction with the denizens of Tombstone.  One guy actually walked up to a trooper during the parade and started asking questions.  Another individual decided to argue points of historical authenticity with our Executive Officer as we rode through town.  These kind of incidents seem to be unique to the town of Tombstone.  Maybe it is something in the water...or the whiskey. 

Parading past a few brave souls

When we returned to the fort and released the horses into pasture, we gathered on the porch to review the day's events and assign appropriate beverage fines for what had transpired.  Both the nubes had forgotten an item of equipment.  Although all the goof ups had been pretty exasperating, no one really got angry about it.  In fact, we all had a pretty good laugh about it.  We are just fortunate to have people in our outfit that find ways to overcome problems, no matter how ridiculous they may be. 

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