As a Boy Scout leader, I have opportunities to mentor these young fellows so they’re clear on certain important facts.
For example, one cold, rainy morning we’re ironically covering the risks of heat exhaustion during outside activities. I tell the boys to drink lots and lots of water and how to identify the signs of a heat emergency – heart rate, sweating, mental disorientation, and the such.
And as a scout leader of the female gender, I want to make sure they are clear on other important facts topical to this subject. Just in case their moms haven’t hit on this learning yet.
Listen up, boys, cuz you need to know this one for later.
Boys sweat. But girls glisten.
It’s true, of course. There’s another lesson involving how women blossom, but that’s off topic.
(And so while we’re off topic. Have you even been riding in the car with your lab puppy sound asleep in the back seat and he releases a blossom so aromatic that he actually wakes himself up? Yep, Yaxley did that. He lifted his head, twitched his nose and looked at each of us in the car with a look on his face of “dang people, which one of you guys dealt that one?”)
|Breyerfest or bust|
But back to the subject at hand of how to have fun in the Midwestern sun. It’s not just for Boy Scouts, you know. We girls know how to have a good time in the great outdoors, too. It’s just we need to have horses around to make the dehydration worth our while.
The two nieces and I make an annual trip to the Kentucky Horse Park each July. An overnighter with two days of adventure in the Kentucky humidity. This year we brought CCI pup, Yaxley, with us. And because life is so boring when things are too easy, one niece breaks a bone in her foot the week before and is using crutches.
Not a problem, I say. We’re hardly delicate flowers here. Pack up your water bottles, girls, and let’s hit the road.
So we do. Actually I’m glad we’re bringing Yaxley on this trip. He was a walking advertisement for CCI and helped to raise awareness of the work the organization does. And more, we were able to introduce him to some new sights, sounds and smells.
New experiences are pretty important in the socialization of a young service dog in training. So, let me share with you some of the new and different that the young Yaxley got to experience in his recent southern adventure.
Number one on his New Experience List happens just as we enter the horse park. The wondrous scent of road apples. Just what is that magical mound on the road?, Yaxley is wondering. Heavenly. I don’t pretend to understand the relationship between dogs and horse manure, but I do know to firmly steer him away from the temptation that is recycled hay.
And this next photo, you say? What is going on here? We see the fair Princess of Gimp as she stands next to her would be knight in soldered armor. First, I’ll tell you to not be too worried about the horse. It’s not real. The fellow, however, is spam in a can in that suit under the blazing Kentucky sun. I never saw the guy move. He reminded me of the campfire dinners you make in aluminum foil. And I was left hoping there wasn’t some poor hapless fellow that got second shift in that well-seasoned armor.
|Sir Knight of Lexington with his well-armored steed, a fair princess
and a yellow dog.
Okie-doke. So we can check off 1) fake horse in armor and 2) a talking can of person. Now let’s find some real horses.
But before we do, a quick stop at the craft tent for face painting. An adorable painted cat face for one niece and a lovely butterfly tattooed on the other. Yaxley waits patiently for the girls as they get their Kentucky ink. He enjoys the attention from some kids watching a magic show.
|A nice chin rub (and free advertisement for the Gentle Leader)|
Ok, let’s start small, so to speak. Maybe I should have had the girls stand next to the miniature horse. Then we could have seen it in the photo.
Well, that went well with Yaxley. He’s just taking this all in and moving right along with things. Going just swell until the Sheriff’s horse gave him a hearty snort. Yax put that interaction into the category of that just ain’t right, so we go off to find a gentler horse that doesn’t look like it wants to eat dogs for breakfast.
|Yax keeping a comfortable distance from the Snort Monster.|
|A new and, um, different sight. For all of us.|
|Pecos, a dazzling Andalusian Stallion|
|Yaxley checks out the Parade of Breeds|
Ah, here’s a truly benign equine. Doesn’t move, doesn’t smell funny.
And doesn’t snort at you.
And then there’s this sight to behold. I’m wondering, in his doggy mind, does Yaxley see a critter with two heads and four legs? What must be rolling through his noggin on this one?
The afternoon was wrapped up with a handful of the obligatory Kentucky Horse Park photo opps.
|Man O’War monument way off in the background.|
Yaxley is rewarded for his good behavior with some ear ruffling and belly rubs from his new fans.
And we prepare to leave Kentucky Horse Park and begin to look forward to next year’s trip.
|I’ll hold his leash.
No, I’ll hold it!