Minis and Me

This blog is written by Lee Gale Gruen to help baby boomers, seniors, retirees, and those soon to retire find joy, excitement, and purpose in life after retirement. Her public lecture on this subject is titled: “Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement.” Her memoir, Adventures with Dad: A Father and Daughter’s Journey Through a Senior Acting Class, is available by clicking here Click here for her website:

Now, on to my blog:

horse 4About eight years ago, I decided I needed more horses in my life, although I’d never had much to do with them. I remember a few times as a girl going to a stable and riding a horse, hanging onto the saddle horn for dear life. When I reached seniorhood, I realized so many members of the equine persuasion are calm, gentle, and take life as it comes. I definitely wanted more involvement with that description and philosophy.

I began going with a like-minded friend to a local stable where we rented horses and rode on wilderness trails led by a guide. My brand of horseback riding was a lot closer to horseback walking, but hey, I was sitting on top with no mishaps requiring stitches or splints and moving forward on a magnificent beast in pristine nature. What more could I want?

Since my revelation, I have vacationed twice at dude ranches, the first in Montana and then in Wyoming, where horseback riding was one of the main activities. (See my blog post about that experience: “Meandering” https:// At the latter, I ventured out on my assigned steed, Bacon, twice a day for seven days in a row, about three hours each stint. I couldn’t seem to get enough.

In the last several years, my access to horses has dropped way off. Recently, I heard about a volunteer opportunity to help feed two mini-horses. Wow, would someone really let me do that? I grabbed my phone and dialed the magic number.

“Oh, thanks for calling. Yes, we definitely need help. I’ll meet you at the paddock this afternoon at 4:00 pm and show you the routine,” said the respondent on the other end of the line.

Chow Time

I set three alarms to remind me of the appointment lest I become engrossed in something and forget, which I’ve been known to do these days. I arrived at the agreed upon location at 3:45 pm.

I met the horsewoman who introduced me to Buzz and Spot, ages 15 and 16 years respectively, each weighing in at around 160 pounds. They were too cute! Buzz was brown, and Spot was–well, spotted, of course. Each stood about as high as my waist. They were as curious about me as I was about them. Both approached to check me out, and Spot was gracious enough to sniff my hand and give me his approval. Yes, he would allow me to minister to him.

Google provided me with a primer about miniature horses: they are no taller than 38 inches and have a variety of coat colors and patterns. They are gentle (my kind of horse), easily trained, and can pull up to four times their own weight. Minis are descended from Shetland ponies, a breed originating in the Shetland Isles off northern Scotland. They were first developed in Europe in the 1600s and are the result of selective breeding over the centuries. They were often the pets of royalty and were used in coal mines in both Europe and the United States until the mid 1900s.

I’m stimulated by my new volunteer job as a mini-horse wrangler, and I consider it a privilege to be around such special animals. Even during COVID-19, we can find things that delight us. Check out opportunities as you stumble upon them. Better yet, figure out an enticing pastime for yourself, seek it out, and get involved. Grab something fulfilling and wrangle it into your life.


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Filed under active seniors, Baby boomers, gerontology, healthy aging, longevity, reinvention, retirement, senior citizens, seniors, successful aging

3 responses to “Minis and Me

  1. Wendy Markel

    Lovely blog !! X

    Sent from my iPhone


  2. a charming gentle call to be proactive – thank you!

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