Horsin’ Around 6-21-10
Fort Collins, Colo.
The other morning I finished trimming my little mare, trying to get her ready to attend a cow short training class. It wasn’t hot yet but I sat down on a chair I have out by my saddle shed and just enjoyed the morning air and calmness of being in the country. But of course my dog had to come around and clean up the hoof shavings. Then my kitty had to come around because she likes to be with whoever is out and about around the place. We call her mustache or “stache” because she has black hair on her upper lip. She is more like a dog the way she follows my daughter and I around the place when we go feed or work around the place. That was when I noticed a pair of robins sitting in the branches of a tree above my head. They just would not leave and sat there fussing at the animals all morning. So I just sat there quietly and watched.
I have been interested in nature since I was a boy. In my early 20s I spent three years in Yellowstone National Park as a park ranger, and though I did not go into the business I have spent a lot of time in the back country studying wildlife on my own. Most of my hunting trips have been just sitting and studying the wildlife around me. In addition, that reminds me of a bow hunting trip I made while living in Buena Vista, Colo.
I was in camouflage with my face painted, which is legal when hunting with a bow and arrow. I paused to just stand on a ridge to scan the valley below. Out of the corner of my eye I caught movement. Not turning anything but my head, I watched a newborn deer fawn cautiously step from the brush and come up to my leg. The fawn, still covered with spots, sniffed my leg as if wondering what I was. Then satisfied, it walked back into the brush and disappeared. That fond memory has stayed with me all these years and I still bring it up to enjoy.
But as I sat on the chair watching the robins, fuss at the cat, and wondering what was going on, when I saw the cat’s attention on the side of a irrigation ditch. The cat crept to the ditch and the robins became more anxious. Suddenly a baby bird flew up, not very far. Moreover, the two robins began to dive bomb the cat one after another like fighter planes. They kept at it until they ran the cat off from the baby bird and it made its way off into some other tall grass.
I began to think how nice it is to be out in the country where I can watch the wildlife. Even though I think I live in the city, my place is far enough out that I have seen deer, elk and even a bear. Though I have had a problem with mountain lions trying to get my horses and have had to scare them off by shooting my pistol, it is still a joy.
I now have a nest of robins in the nose of my horse trailer and haven’t been able to use it for the past month because I know that if I take it the robins will leave it. I did try to take the nest out when it was just four eggs, but momma robin fussed at me until I put it back and she came back and raised her babies. They are about to leave the nest now and I just hope the cat won’t get them until they can fly. Nevertheless, momma does let me stick my head under there and that is how I got this picture.
I guess I shouldn’t be so silly, but the older I get the more tender I become about the wildlife we humans seem to be intruding on and it bothers me, I feel the same way about my horses.
Prior to his retirement, Roger Thompson was a CHA certified instructor of advanced Western horsemanship and beginning English riding.