I arrived at Cowboy Les's house early, around 10am, with Chewie in-tow. Romeo was already there, sporting short feet & new shoes. I could hardly contain the enthusiasm. He galloped across his pasture to the gate, nickering & snorting at me. My boy was happy to see me! How awesome!
Turned Chewie out into a little paddock, and gave both the boys hay to occupy their minds. I went inside, and began helping with the cooking preparations for the meal. Family and their children all began arriving, and we all settled in the kitchen and living room to feast.
Turkey for you, ham for you, and chicken for me! I have this incredibly foul turkey allergy, which causes me great digestive distress when I feast on it. No giblits in the gravy, no turkey-based stuffing, please. I'll pass... as my body would go into overload & complete disruption should I consume it. I ate heartily on my chicken, chicken-based cornbread dressing, home-made mashed sweet potatoes, corn casserole, rolls, the works. Many dessert-like things I also should not have consumed, and I did it anyways.
Les and I saddled Romeo & Sugar to lead the nieces & nephews around the pasture. One of the nieces had her own idea on Sugar, turned her away from Les, leaned forward, and squeezed. Yup! You guessed it! Les and I hollering "pull back! Pull back! Touch her neck & pull back!" as Sugar took off out the driveway, across the road, and down the road a piece. The little girl bailed, fell to the ground, with Sugar turning on the forehand, planting all four hooves, staring down at the little girl saying, "What you doing down there, human? I'm up here, I was in control!" No injuries to horse or rider, for that we're thankful. Romeo behaved like the perfect leadline pony for a little girl named C. I let her demonstrate Romeo's great brakes a few times, and laughed at his face when she hollered, "WHOA!" He slammed to a stop, eyes all wrinkly like, "Momma? She yelled! What'd I do??" cute boy... and well behaved.
We found Chewie in the paddock with a small scrape on his left hind ankle. He appeared to be favoring it, but we weren't sure. Later on, he looked sound and a bit impatient he wasn't in on the riding or saddling action. Les took him to the round pen, free lounged him a while, and he appeared sound & good to go. He saddled him up, lounged a bit more, then tied him to the "post of knowledge". We waved all the guests farewell, a bit grateful they were going. We could get the guests gone, and get to the real reason for the day - Riding!
Les crawled on Chewie, cantered him in the round pen like a real pro. Chewie threw his head a bit, but I figured it was the curb chain he didn't appreciate. They went out to the pasture to ride a while. Chewie finally did what he usually does - blew up to a rearing fit when he decided that was just about enough work for one day. Les stuck both legs (and spurs) on each side, and they bounced a bit more. Les stayed on, and Chewie gave in, and the cantering continued. He and Chewie worked for nearly an hour plus some, and then Chewie stood unsaddled & tied for a while.
We got back on Sugar & Romeo, and took them for a leisurely ride around some crop fields. They wandered through black gumbo dirt mud, hooves sticking in the tarry dirt. Good long ride, nearly an hour, mostly at walk, and it was great. The sunset was gorgeous, and made the day worthwhile.
After more laying back & relaxing at the house, fed the boys, and then wandered myself and my boys back on home.
A much better Thanksgiving than years' past, where I've eaten alone, or spent a few awkward hours in someone else's home where I felt like a shadow rather than a guest. One of the better holidays of the many I've spent away from my blood-relatives. Les and MG are becoming like family to me, and I'm pretty thankful for that this year.