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By Steve Komadina
Out of the Pandemic? I have met with veterinarians and trainers in the last three months, and it is satisfying to witness the great awakening in the horse world. As restrictions have been cautiously raised, the interaction of equine fanatics has begun to unfold. It has been a tough year with loved ones lost and others weakened by the COVID-16 virus. Therapeutic riding programs closed, and stables were on lock-down. But we are waking up and coming alive and the excitement is palpable. Most encouraging is the excitement for many big shows like the Arab Youth Nationals in Oklahoma this month. A scan of the entrants shows many New Mexicans and classes with 40-60 entrants. These numbers have not been seen for several years even pre-COVID. There was time for training and private lessons during the lock-down and now everyone is anxious to try for that ribbon or trophy or even the roses!

Rodeo also is alive and well. Rodeo events are springing up in every little community and the kids are ready to ride. Horses and children: not ready to go away yet! Sure, there are some who would rather jump on an ATV, or just close the door to their room and spend hours immersed in a video game killing hoards trying to storm the castle or outrun the police as they make their heist of millions. But there still are those youth who saddle up and learn to work with another breathing, living, thinking being who will take them to their dream destinations. For eons, humans have partnered with these great animals to explore the world and find new horizons of opportunity. The horse youth of today can experience the same thrills and hard work and yes, even discomfort known to those who lived in the past.

My grandpa Pollock was a cowboy in Tropic, Utah and he gathered cattle in Bryce Canyon and moved them to new pastures in the late 1980s. He never quite left that life behind as he married and moved to Salt Lake City, where he worked as a barber and raised a family. I have looked at his picture leaning on his saddle horn and found it easy to close my eyes and imagine him riding along with me through the bosque and sharing thoughts as we watched the sun come up over the Sandias. I never knew him, but I think we were soul brothers when it came to love of a good horse between our legs.

Here is to the horse youth of today! Ride on and win that ribbon or capture that dream. Do not be afraid to hit the trail and follow the paths of those who went before. You are blessed to live in Corrales and do not miss the opportunity to wave if you see me on the trail. Saddle up! Tomorrow may be too late.

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