Friends, Two- and Four-Legged


Thank you everyone for the thoughts about Cajun. I never knew we had so many friends. I have been so overwhelmed with this sudden tragedy and it has helped more than you know to have the support of people who understand what it is like to love a dog.

And then there is Clifford! I rode him in the Pinckney Memorial Day Parade on Monday. He helped my friend Dianne introduce her boyfriend’s Tennessee Walker, Dollar, to the excitement of a parade. It was Dollar’s first time and he was escorted by Cliffy and me on one side, and Dianne and her parade veteran TW, Kinkaid, on the other.

It was a lovely day. I was so excited to be invited to participate and Clifford was THRILLED! We enjoyed and hour trail ride through Pinckney Rec Area to reach the starting point at the school. When the parade was over, we took off for the trails again. Clifford was doing a lot of trotting to keep up with a batch of Walkers and I started worrying about his knee. I asked Dianne if she would mind separating from the group and just going back slowly with us.

“Sure!” she said. “I’ll even ride behind you and let him set the pace.”

We let the group go on without us. We turned up a trail through the woods. As soon as we got into the thick brush under the trees, I felt Clifford bunch up underneath me.

“He always wants to run in the woods,” I called back to Dianne. Clifford was so eager to go that I finally just gave up and let him take off. WHOOSH! The next thing I knew, we were galloping up that path with the wind rushing through my hair.

“Good grief!” I screeched as he hurled himself around a bend. I ducked easily under low hanging branches as Clifford charged ahead.

“Take a right up here!” I heard Dianne yell, but Clifford needed no direction as he veered to the right at the fork in the trail and blasted up another hill.

“Left!” Dianne hollered and again, Clifford chose the correct direction at the next fork. I could feel his power and it was just like the years had fallen away from us, reminiscing about speedy rides up on Drummond Island.

“I’m just going to quit calling directions and see what he does,” Dianne said. I gave Clifford free rein and he correctly navigated the miles back to the farm where we started out — all at top speed.

He was sweaty and blowing when we got back, but so happy. And — he hadn’t limped a step.

So… Let that be a lesson to me! Never underestimate the power of a Morgan, and never underestimate the intuition of a friend who reads your moods and knows just what to do for you.

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About Nancy J. Bailey

Artist, author, bad karaoke singer. Woodsy ragamuffin. Mom of a horse named Clifford who plays fetch and paints with watercolors. He visits libraries and schools with me, to promote literacy and making the world a better place. Yes, he is house trained, no, he doesn't live in my house! I have written three books about Clifford. But my newest book, THE NORTH SIDE OF DOWN, is co-written by my awesome sister Amanda, who has Down syndrome. Her unexpected one-liner wisecracks can always make me laugh. If you make me laugh, you've made my day!
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3 Responses to Friends, Two- and Four-Legged

  1. Sounds like Clifford knew just what to do to lift your spirits. That’s pretty cool.

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  2. What a wonderful horse. I love that Clifford took charge and you both had a wonderful time.

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  3. Nancy, I was so sory to read of the loss of your dear friend, Cajun. Having just had to put down my husband’s mare, the Barbi Doll on four legs known as “Lady,” I can honestly say I think I know how you feel. Lady had been in our lives for 18 years and her sudden death took us all by surprise.But, like you, I also noticed that one of the best ways to deal with the loss of a four-legged friend is to…well, hang out with a four-legged friend.I think riding my own mare helped take away some of the pain of losing Lady, and it sounds like Cliffy’s spirited romp through the forest put some joy into your heart–if not some speed in your step!Thanks for sharing and, again, my condolences.

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