When Claremore High School senior Justin Seago gassed up before school on Friday, he didn’t bother going to Quik Trip or Fastop.

He just pulled over, and let his ride get a mouthful of grass.

Seago, with friends Cody McIntire, and Kaleb Summers, surprised students and faculty alike when they showed up for school Friday morning on horseback.

The trio, good friends in and out of class, had considered riding their horses to school before.

With Seago and Summers due to graduate high school this year, they decided this would be their last opportunity to actually do it.

“We’d talked about it for a long time, and we thought if we were going to do this before we graduate, this would be the time to do it,” Summers said. “I’m glad we did.”

The day began earlier than usual for the trio — with horse power being slightly slower than horsepower. McIntire got up at 5:30 a.m. to feed, saddle and mount “Hick.”

Once fueled, “Hick” took McIntire to Seago’s house where he and Summers waited with their own horses, “Noose,” Summers’ horse and “Lucky Star Mac” or “Mac” for short, Seago’s horse.

“We started for school about 7, I think,” McIntire said. “We stuck mostly to the back roads, but we did see some traffic along the way — ‘Hick’ was a little skittish at first, but he settled down. Everyone that passed us would give us the thumbs-up — that was pretty neat.”

McIntire said that the near 10-mile trip to school by horse gave the group a new, more appreciative perspective of their usual route.

“We noticed so much more along the way riding our horses than we ever did by driving,” he said. “We noticed houses we’d never seen, wildlife — we saw a few deer. It was really something how much we’d never noticed on that road before.”

And saving a few dollars in gas money didn’t hurt, either.

“A lot of people thought we did this as kind of a protest against high gas prices, which really isn’t true — we’d talked about doing this for a long time anyway, but not being out the gas money one day was pretty nice, too,” he said.

When the trio finally reached the high school, they were met with overwhelming applause and more than a few surprised faces.

“People were laughing and applauding us when we rode up — it was a good feeling,” McIntire said. “I think a lot of them didn’t believe we’d actually ride our horses to school.”

“You know, high school kids talk about doing a lot of different things, but when I saw those boys riding their horses to school, I was shocked — the good kind of shocked,” said Matt Boyer, CHS Vocational Agriculture instructor.

The students made makeshift pens near the vo-ag building for their rides — complete with hay and water to refuel for the return trip home — where the horses remained throughout the school day.

“Other than the trip to school by horse, it was sort of a normal day,” McIntire said. “I don’t think I’d want to ride ‘Hick’ to school every day, though — it was a lot of fun to do, but my car’s a whole lot faster.”

So, while Seago and Summers may ride off into the high school sunset after graduation, McIntire will return next school year, and he’s already thinking of bringing “Hick” back to school.

“I’d love to do this again next year — to carry on the tradition we started,” McIntire said, smiling. “Whether I do it again or not, I’m real glad we did it this year — that’s a memory that we’ll always have and always be able to tell our kids about one day.”

Contact Tom Fink at maned@swbell.net

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