Renegade: My 4 Legged Boyfriend
I have to keep the song in mind “Cowgirls Don’t Cry” while I tell you about my horse Renegade.
Renegade came to me over 18 years ago! When I bought him I was told he was just 15 years old. That was perfect for me a good “dead broke” horse for a green rider. I didn’t find out until about 6 months later he was near 20 or 21. Yep! Add it up, Renegade is near 40 years old today!
Renegade had a few issues. He was awfully head shy and wanted to take off with you as soon as you got that first foot in the stirrup. Being a green rider, that’s not a lot of fun.
I worked with him every day on his head shyness and finally got it to where he would at least let me approach him with a rub to the nose. He had an awful habit of getting spooked when you had him tied somewhere; whether it be on a hitchin’ post or a trailer at a trail ride. We were trail riding in South Dakota one weekend, I had just purchased a brand new saddle and was so proud of it. I had also just purchased one of those trailer ties that is “guaranteed not to break” and had Renegade tied to the trailer with it, he was sporting my new saddle and waiting for me to get the head stall. As I came out of the dressing room with the head stall something spooked him and he went to pulling back on that trailer tie. I sat back and watched him with my arms crossed and a grin on my face thinking “go ahead big fella’, you ain’t goin’ nowhere!” when, yes you guessed it, the trailer tie broke and he went sailing over backwards on my brand new saddle. Then took off running like something had shot him out of a gun! A rider finally caught up with him and brought him back to me. Do you know, that horse never pulled back again.
Now, on the taking off part, I worked with him for about 6 hours one day…picked my foot up to put it in the stirrup and he would start to walk forward, I would stop and bring him right back to where we started. Once I was able to put my foot in the stirrup without him moving forward then I would step up off the ground, he would move forward, I would stop and we start at the beginning again. This went on for over 6 hours until he finally figured out that this stupid woman wasn’t going to get in the saddle until he held perfectly still and didn’t move until I gave him the signal to.
This horse had ridden many trails with me and has even ridden in a parade in downtown Minneapolis with lights strung all over him. We rode in the Saint Paul Winter Carnival parade in temperatures you couldn’t even imagine. It was about 20 below with a wind chill factor of at least 40 or more below. We rode in the homecoming parade for the University of Minnesota. I’ve ridden him in shows and play days. I haven’t ridden him in at least 7 years now, he’s been “retired”. I told David about 2 years ago I wished I could ride him one more time.
Renegade has the biggest heart and the smoothest trot you would ever want to ride. You know, one of those rocking chair trots that you could ride all day long.
My buddy is getting old and his health is failing him. I’ve had him longer than my husband and most friends. This is a tough goodbye to say the least. Everyone has been so thoughtful. I lost my Dad back in May and I don’t want to compare that with this but it hurts my heart as well.
I got home this evening and he was already gone. I’ll miss him.