Vash ‘n’ Ash

Every year, without fail, I end up editing and organizing twelve months’ worth of photos in the wee hours of the days before Christmas.  Why?  Because I have great intentions of ordering photo gifts for our loved ones using photos taken throughout the year… but I inevitably end up paying for rush shipping.

Why do I never learn?

Still… I really enjoy editing photos.  It’s something I like to do.  And the bonus is that going back through all those pictures is a great review of the year.  Deep in the shadowy corners of my iPhoto program I find treasures in images I may have overlooked in the heat of throwing together a blog five months ago or downloading photos while nursing the baby, consoling the 3-year-old, and practicing the rrrrr sound with the 5-year-old seven months ago.

Case in point:

DSC02946

That’s Vash, at left, and our son Asher at right, at a branding at the VX this past spring.  Kids don’t get to ride every branding day here at the PV, but oh what fun on the days they do!

Vash and his family live at the VX, the northernmost part of the ranch — where Beau and I and the kids lived until Beau moved into management here at headquarters a little over two years ago.  Vash’s dad has handled things at the VX for almost a year now… and in that time Vash and Ash have become fast friends.  Asher’s eight, Vash is nine, and I’m afraid they’re going to get each other into lots of trouble in the years to come!

Vash rides a good little pony — not a pony pony, not a spoiled toy like ponies tend to be — but more like a small horse trained by capable hands as a cow horse and then purchased by Vash’s parents with the specific intent of providing Vash with a cowy mount capable of keeping up with the crew.  And Vash does really well riding him.

Asher, in the picture above, is riding trusty old Doogan, who has been in our family’s kid horse hall of fame for a few years already.

So you can imagine the days when Ash and Vash get to ride together are pretty special for both of them.

About a month ago Beau took Asher along when he went to the VX to help Vash’s dad move cows.  Beau said the boys were actually quite a lot of real help that day — which makes us very hopeful for the future of ranching!  When the cow work was finished that day, Beau had to wait for the rest of the cowboys to finish something up, but he told the two little boys — I’m sure they were begging — that they could start back to the barn together, only if they acted very responsibly and absolutely no racing your horses.

The boys made it back to the barn safely — I, Mighty Mama, still catch my heart in my throat when I consider the responsibilities and privileges are oldest son is gaining as he grows up.  Is he truly ready?  Why can’t I just hold his hand until he’s twenty?

Anyhow… Vash’s parents later told us that Vash admitted this:  After the boys rode out of Beau’s sight, Asher said to Vash, “My dad said we couldn’t run, but he didn’t say anything about lopin’!”

That whole “never ride faster than your angels can fly” thing?  It think that’s great advice.

But I don’t think Asher and his friends are interested.

So for now I am just so thankful for good horses… and good ponies.

O Lord, please keep these kids safe when they’re out of my reach, beyond my sight, and going faster than (realistically) I’ll probably ever go again.  Amen.

© Tam Blake

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