Cody's Num Nums
I love the way Cody looks at me when he wants treats. Ears perked, eyes eager, his full attention is on me. He’ll even throw in a little nicker if I don’t respond. He can smell the pellets and apple slices in the saddlebags, and his mind is set on making me understand that he wants some num nums.
He’s a beautiful animal, really. His sorrel skewbald patches on gleaming white, muscular body, and lovely shape draw your eye to him when he is in the field with the herd. But it is something less obvious and hard to articulate that draws me to him. He is always very curious about me, and watches like he wants to know what I am doing. At a trot or a canter, he holds his head much higher than he should. I’ve been told that this is not correct form, and we need to work on getting him to lower it.
Somehow, though, it feels joyful to me. The way he bumps his nuzzle against my arm and side when I lead him through the field. The way he begs for treats. I often find myself on the verge of a giggle in his company.
I did not pick him at first. Having spent the last 20 plus years as a dude rancher, it is surprising and sad how little time I spent on the back of a horse. My days were spent chained to my desk, psychologically if not literally. My evenings, at least in the summer, were dining with our guests. Realizing sometime in July that this summer would be our last, as we had entered into a gentleman’s agreement to sell Rock Springs Guest Ranch, my two daughters and I began thinking about horses for ourselves. Ones we could ride, together, as a family. Or, at least, as the girls in the family. My husband was not interested, he’d had his fill of horses.
When riding on the dude ranch, we rarely rode the same horse more than a time or two, always taking whoever was available and not assigned to a guest for the week. And, this last summer I had ridden only a handful of horses, two of which were suitable to keep. The others had a variety of reasons they were not, from constant jigging, which would make anyone else in my family crazy if they ever had to borrow my horse, to an extreme dislike of riding in front on the trail. My choices were Cody, the paint, and Rodney, a solid, sound trail horse which anyone in our family could ride.
Cody is a little quirky and can be cinchy, which means that he can act up when his cinch is put on and sometimes when mounting. In that I ride with a fairly loose cinch, it does not matter so much for me, but might for others. Wanting someone who could be ridden by most anyone, I eventually chose Rodney.