Man and his horse live out frontier scene

Published 12:00 am Sunday, January 19, 2003

VIDALIA, La. &045; Except for the Mississippi River levee undulating into the distance, it almost looked like a scene from a frontier movie.

The horse trainer, dressed in a cowboy hat, leather chaps and boots, was riding his horse at an easy pace. With the bitterly cold winds whipping past, they rode on an almost deserted landscape, past leafless trees.

They were nearly alone, but not lonely. As 2-year-old Baby stopped to visit with two fenced-in horses along the way, her owner, Kyle Cubie, smiled from the saddle as if there was no other place he’d rather be.

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From her gentle manner &045; she nuzzled against Cubie’s chin several times &045; you’d think that Baby, a chestnut mare with white markings, had been under to the saddle forever.

But Sunday’s six-mile stroll down the levee, past the Vidalia Landing site, was only the third time he had ever ridden the horse.

Although Cubie, 45, has been riding and training horses all his life, he said Baby was one of the easiest he has ever trained.

&uot;She’s been good &045; she really surprised me,&uot; he said.

Still, Cubie acknowledged, &uot;each horse has a different personality, just like people.&uot; Take Baby’s 3-year-old sister, for instance, who Cubie said was a bit more headstrong.

But Cubie said success in training a horse relies more on the trainer than the horse itself.

Because horses tend to be skittish at first, &uot;you’ve got to be easygoing,&uot; he said.

Cubie has that easygoing manner down, it seems, and he certainly seems content to be around the horses he loves.

&uot;Yeah, I ride every chance I get &045; sometimes more &045; but not as much as I’d like. I’ve got to work to take care of them,&uot; Cubie, who works as a painter, said, referring to his horses.

Then, with a gentle tug of the reins, Cubie and Baby were off again, leaving their newfound friends and riding off into the winter winds.