Geoff and his horses were waiting for us. He asked me if i'd ridden before. I did what i always do in these situations, which is say yes, then back track and say something like they weren't real horses or that they didn't really move that much. Charlie, being from South East London, had never ridden a horse in his life and Nan, had ridden before but warned Geoff that she always got the problem horse, which kind of meant Geoff wasn't about to give her that kind of horse.
Geoff knodded to his buddy and said "put him on Jaynee" (at least thats what i called her). So having been intoxicated by the wiff of the wild west and believing i was now a cowboy, i prepared myself to take on the mustang of the troop. In reality, these horses were very happy with their lot and weren't intending to break out anywhere fast. Geoff said we would take it easy as he'd been up all night drinking beer and playing cards. Of course he had, he's a cowboy. This was just what i was looking for.
He took us on what seemed like a small path through a forest, but was infact an old route used by early settlers. They were also remnants of a railway track used for mining the area. You wouldn't have known it unless he'd said. Not really sure what they were mining. Geoff was up ahead on his stallion and i don't thing he really liked repeating things. So you generally nodded in appreciation.I liked Geoff. He seemed a to travel around a lot following what he loved doing,working with horses. Wether it was lasooing cattle down and herding them, training horses or taking tourists on treks. He said his friends had settled down and took proper jobs but that "never appealed" to him.
I've been listening to Willie Nelson and Johnny Cash. A lot of the songs seem to be about well meaning feckless men who work hard but blow their paycheck in the bar or on wild adventures, but always have a strong woman to stand by them. I suppose cowboys don't really grow up. I wasn't bothered about them when i was a kid (unless you include The Lone Ranger, but he was more Knight Rider on a horse than a real cowboy). But as a man the cowboy represents so much more. The freedom, the wilderness, the wanted man, the hell raiser, the loner.
Ah well, as Willie said "Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be cowboys!"