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Copyright 2013 Rocky Mountain Rider. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Reproduction of any editorial material, artwork and photos is strictly forbidden without express written permission of the publisher. For information about reprint rights, please contact the editor; editor@rockymountainrider.com.

 

Dog Hair & Mule Sweat

with Natalie Riehl

editor@rockymountainrider.com

 

June 2013 issue  

 

 

     A question often asked of children is: “What is your favorite color?” They will either instantly know and blurt out “red” or “blue” or “yellow,” or they will search their brains by rolling their eyes upward and take a moment before answering.

     I find natural colors delightful, and so much more complex than the simple box of crayons used by many of us to define colors when in grade school.

     What about that intense blue in the sky as you ride your horse up a steep hill and look toward the ridge above? Or the rich color of moist earth overturned in a garden? Or the golden-reddish color of bark on a mature Ponderosa pine? Or the muted, gray-green shade of sagebrush foliage? Or a bale of hay, weathered on the outside, opened in the white of winter to reveal the freshness of summer?

     I find the colors of spring to be most satisfying. In our latitude of the northern hemisphere, we get only a brief two weeks…maybe four weeks…each year when new foliage magically transforms bare branches and twigs. Trees and brush are dressed in multiple shades of pale greens with varying degrees of yellowness in their hues during this brief window before they all turn to a uniform deep green.

     The riverbottom cottonwoods are some of the last to leaf out, changing the view from transparent to cloaked.

     Rick’s black mare has shed out and is truly black. Her color is a mystical black, a black that exists in fiction rather than in real life — think “The Black Stallion.” I think, “Wow! What a rich and beautiful color!” But her coat will fade within a month, tinged by the sun to brown, becoming a color reminiscent of seal brown.

     Our springs have been typically stretching into the latter part of June; we’d better not pull off the “walls of water” from the tomatoes or peppers too soon. This year, an abnormal week in early May of temperatures in the mid-eighties accelerated plant growth, but cooler weather has returned.

     Rows of old lilacs line yards throughout the valley, their colors intense and their intertwined branches displaying whites, lavenders, and dark purples. Fruit trees are filling the air with sweet scents, the petals of their blooms delicate.

     I long for spring’s sweet colors during the winter, and it seems they are gone as quickly as a breath before the heat of summer sets in.

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     Speaking of fiction… One of the horse movie classics I had never seen was the much-touted 1944 film starring a young Elizabeth Taylor — “National Velvet.”

     To Rick’s horror, I rented it a couple of weeks ago. I was expecting a good horse story, but unfortunately, the film met Rick’s expectations with a maudlin and unbelievable storyline.

     No parents, especially those in the 1930s when the story was set, would send their twelve-year-old daughter off with a twenty-year-old man for a week — anywhere. In this case, it was to run the daughter’s horse, “The Pie,” in the largest steeplechase race in England .

     I am sorry to disappoint those who may like the film. But, I know there have been many movies I absolutely loved when I was younger, and then re-watched them and had to change my opinion. Believe it or not!

 

    

 

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Copyright 2013 Rocky Mountain Rider. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Reproduction of any editorial material, artwork and photos is strictly forbidden without express written permission of the publisher. For information about reprint rights, please contact the editor; editor@rockymountainrider.com.

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