We started at 7:00 PM.  As I drove past the bank on the way, the temperature read 104.  It ws HOT!!  THere were about twelve riders and of these four were kids under the age of eight, one lady was riding double with her small son and a camera, two guys on green three-year-olds and a sweet girl who had never been around cattle at all before.  That left four of us on horses who were broke and might have somewhat of a clue as to what we were doing:)  Airy was a superstar:)  She stood tied to the trailer like a pro, worked great, went from 0-60 and back again just as calm (as she could be.  I just couldn't have been prouder.  She has always been a baby in my mind because she tends to have blonde moments (even though she's just as sweet and willing as can be)...but she handled this like a bombproof old campaigne
This group had to be worked through a pasture where there's a lake.  Guess where all the cattle wanted to go in over 100 degree heat?  We pushed them out of the lake.  One old horned mama cow hooked at Airy come and she just dodged back and forth and mama returned to the herd.  We even got a comment from another of the guys riding "That little mare just wasn't gonna let her by was she?"  I had taken Airy to this gather earlier in the summer before Caroline took her to 4-H Horse School and there was a huge difference in how she responded this time.  Airy was quite a bit lighter and had figured out how to out duck cows rather than just outrunning them.  I just kept thinking if she had improved this much by having a thirteen year old work her for a week on cows....what could she do with real training?  Oh well, guess she's stuck with me regardless:)
The best compliment of the day was from the owner. Jim's not necessarily a big horse person--they have a few horses and he can ride well but cows are more his thing.  He rode up and we were talking. (I had to be out there the following morning at 6AM in my Extension Agent capacity).  He complimented my horse and then asked if I had a couple other "horses like that".  I answered yes and asked if he needed them.  He responded that he would love for all of his kids to be able to ride and they just didn't have enough horses.  Made me grin all over :))
LUCY RAY Extension Agent GA


I actually got to take a short pack trip (just 4 days) to the Smokies earlier in May with my cousin, Chavis, his App and 2 Haflinger pack horses and Airy for me. Well long story short...I had a good time. We saw some beautiful country, covered about 60 miles, rode to the top of Gregory Bald which is the highest point in Tennessee, and even saw a couple of bear. Airy was wonderful. She was the only mare with all geldings and she was in heat! But she never gave me the slightest bit of attitude. She was the horse who would cross everything. She was the only horse there who never lost a shoe. Airy picked her way through some pretty rocky, nasty trails and was steady as a rock. The park service just doesn't have time to maintain all the trails in the Park. She handled bears and ponying some pretty green pack horses. I'll try to send pictures soon:)

About 3 days after we got back I got a call from one of my farmers. He was going to gather about 150 head of cow/calf pairs that evening and pen them before working them the next AM. I was invited to help. So I tossed Airy on the trailer and headed over to his farm. Again, she was wonderful. Crossed creeks and went up and down banks that other folks refused to ask their horses to try. Not bad for the horse I nicknamed Airy because of her airheaded blonde moments:)) She worked cow like a dream. It always cracks me up when she goes after a cow...ears pinned straight back and all that blonde mane flying:))