Archive for the ‘Joe Mackall’ Category

CHEYENNE

June 8, 2018

Joe and I began looking for a horse we could afford. limiting our search to local trades and newspapers and word of mouth. We wanted a bombproof horse Joe and our kids could ride, but a horse that had enough spirit for me to really enjoy riding. We soon learned how hard it is now to find a horse that you can trust. I don’t know how many horses we investigated, but they were all nervous. Most had disappointed their owners, who had hoped to show them. The two Quarter Horses that were close to what we were looking for cost much more than we could afford.

Finally, one evening we drove to a farm to look at a horse of undetermined breeds. He was a sweetheart and calm enough for anyone to ride. I admit I feared he might be too calm for me. But I wanted a safe horse for our family. We decided to sleep on it. When we woke up, we agreed that it was a good horse and in our price range. We called the owners–the horse was sold. “But we have another horse you might want to look at,” said the owner. We sped to the farm, determined not to be outdone by another horse seeker. Running in the pasture was a beautiful Quarter Horse Paint. The mare was in a small herd, and they all charged in to be fed. Sure, she bucked at the other horses on that brisk morning–why not? And when I asked to ride her bareback and she wanted to run with me, the owner said she’d never been ridden bareback and the other horses were upsetting her. And besides, her ground manners were so friendly. And we didn’t want to lose out again.

We bought Cheyenne. There’s a reason I’ve included two pictures of her. Working with Cheyenne on the ground was a pleasure. She was a cuddler (picture on the left) and so sweet. She loved to be scratched and brushed, and she’d follow me anywhere. The picture on the right shows the “other Cheyenne,” the horse she turned into with a rider on her back. Can you see the tension? Her eyes weren’t actually glowing like they appear in that picture, but she’d get very wide-eyed. Right away I loved riding the spirited, ready-to-run Cheyenne, but she was far from bombproof and definitely not a kid’s or beginner’s horse. The kids could sit in a saddle while I led her. Joe, however, had no desire to ride the “wild” horse. Eventually, our oldest daughter could ride her, but I never relaxed when she did. I’ve always loved riding Cheyenne . . .except one day in early March, the first hint of Spring after a too-long winter. I should have lunged Cheyenne and taken it slowly, but I couldn’t stop myself. I hopped on her bareback. She wasn’t ready for me, and she bucked and reared until I slid off her backside in mid-buck. Her hooves connected, twice, and left me with two cracked ribs and a trip to the ER. Totally my fault, though Joe still hasn’t forgiven her.

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WRITER JOE & COWBOY JOE (sort of)

March 8, 2018

I’ve written a lot about myself, our kids, and our grandkids; but I haven’t given you a good picture of my husband, have I? I am the luckiest (most blessed) woman in the world to be married to this guy, Joe Mackall. And our kids and grandkids would testify that he’s an amazing father and grandfather. He’s an excellent writer, co-founder of River Teeth: A Journal of Nonfiction Narrative, “where great writing and facts matter.” He’s author of successful books, like The Last Street Before Cleveland and Plain Secrets: An Outsider Among the Amish, which the starred Booklist review called “a wonderful and enlightening book. He’s also my first editor.

But he’s much more than his official bio. When Joe and I met, the man wasn’t crazy about horses and hadn’t ridden one since he sat on a pony for a picture-taking opportunity when he was 4 or 5. But he dove right in and learned to ride on Moby, one of our two horses at the time. Since then, we’ve ridden on trails wherever we’ve gone. Horse rides are a major ingredient in all family vacations. Above is one of our best rides, in Monument Valley across Navajo lands, and later to Four Corners, where Montana, Arizona, Utah, and Colorado meet.

Finally, just look at that face. Can you tell he’s a very witty and funny fellow? We make each other laugh.