You know you've won, in life, when people pay you to do what you would pay them to let you do

Sunday, July 25, 2010

All the Horses I've Loved

First time I ever saw a horse, I was three. Something happened to me right then, like an old memory awakening or maybe it was the future stirring. For 13 years, every time I wished on a falling star, said my prayers, or was asked what I wanted for Christmas or my birthday I only dreamed of one thing, a horse of my own. For so long, I was the little girl with no horse.

I saved every cent from that moment on. It started with $5 in pennies, included all my Christmas and birthday money for 13 years, and every cent I made sweeping floors for my dad after school (starting at age 11) until the day before my 16th birthday. That was the day I bought my first horse.

Gypsy Lee, a potbellied (there was a baby in there) jugheaded, stubborn little bay mare with roaning up in her flanks and white hairs in her black tail. I can see her clear as if it was yesterday.

The baby was exactly what I wanted: a sorrel filly, no white on her legs, a pretty blaze face, Tama (short for Tamalina). I raised her, started her, and made a good horse of her.

Then I convinced my dad to buy a chestnut thoroughbred mare with a crooked blaze on her face, Dancer. She could run, taught me about trust, and that it was dangerous to lose my temper with a horse.

(I'll have to find Mac's picture)

It was a hard decision but I sold all three to get enough money to attend University. I became the little girl with no horse again till I fell in love and married my cowboy. He bought me a buckskin colt, 4 months old. We fed him a gallon of oats, a cup of cows milk replacer, a cup of flax seed, with a couple of tablespoons of children's vitamin syrup poured on top, Mac. He grew into a big gelding and I got to start him.

We bought some mares, Holly, Candy, Missy, Annie, and an old stallion, Les, an actual grandson of the great Three Bars. He loved his colts and took care of his mares. It was a privelege to ride him. How can I say how awesome he was or how much I loved him? There are no words for feelings so deep.

I had a pretty bay mare, Sam, that all the kids in 4-H thought was a trick horse cause she could count and I could steer her with no bridle.

I had a miscarriage and my cowboy worked 3 weeks for some folks just to buy a pretty little sorrel filly with a flaxen mane, Susie. I started her and she became my daughter's Junior Barrel horse.

Buzzard, all 16.3 hands of that big chestnut gelding has a special place in my heart. So many times I cried in his mane and told him my troubles. He kept me safe when I didn't know how to do it for myself. He's buried at the ranch after a long life of faithful service with us (even though he never quit bucking).

Buckwheat, we bought for the youngest girl but he became my best bull chasing horse, the little horse with a big heart. At age 22, he won me a buckle, himself a winterblanket, and enough money for me to buy a fancy Montana Silversmith's watch. He never was real friendly with people but his best friend was an old gray gelding that had once been the Indian Rodeo Cowboy Association Champion's calf roping horse. They are buried together.

Tom who was the horse my daughter bought with all her summer wages, sold to her dad, and I got to ride. I called him Tommy Holiday because riding him was so easy it was like being on a holiday.

The first time I moved bulls with Pic, he was so awful I got off and walked a mile and a half back to the trailer and swore I would never ride him again. You should see him do it now. He just needed me to understand.

Now there is Hooch,  a promise for the future.

My cowboy told me one day, out of the blue, "When you and Buzzard come for me, bring Trouper." I immediately knew what he meant and I will.


Shirley said...

You've had some interesting horses. The ones we have in our youth are sure the ones who taught us a lot. Is that Les in the fourth photo? Beamers mama was a granddaughter of Par Three, a son of Three Bars.
Chickory has taught me things no other horse I've owned has done, it's nice to know that I can still learn as I grow older.
I was riding Beamer in from his pasture tonight in just a halter, bareback. He lets me close the gates by sidling up to them, then I have to put a foot on the bar of the panel so I can close the clasp that keeps the mares from opening the gate. I lose my balance sometimes and collapse on his neck -he just patiently stands there. Love that horse.

aurora said...

Lovely post. You have been blessed with many special horses. Thanks for sharing.

fernvalley01 said...

Wonderful memories of wonderful and unique horses. The last part made me tear up a little. Here's to all of our horses past and present, and the hope that we will one day fly with them again

Crystal said...

Aww thats so cute, some off those horses Ive never seen before. I have a mug with that saying on it, Neil came home from town with it one deay when I said I didnt need anything.

Rising Rainbow said...

Oh how I wish I could have started my life out with horses when I was young. Can't even imagine where I'd be if that had been the case.

Looks like you've had a great time and some great horse loves. That's pretty darn cool!

Sarah said...

I loved this post. My love for horses was always ridiculed and demeaned as a child. When I got old enough, I went and worked for an amazing cowgirl near Boise, then worked as a wrangler in Wyoming, then worked at a jumping stable in Ireland.

My dad's still waiting for me to 'grow out of that horse phase'.

I loved seeing that magnet on your fridge - I have the same one on my fridge. Sweet.

Jennifer said...

This was such a neat post! I have been horse crazy my whole life, and have been so grateful that I've never had to do without.

Nicole said...

Awe that made me tear up! That's fabulous! I love horses too!

Reddunappy said...

Great memories. Thats how I started my blog, with all the horses I have known over the years.

gtyyup said...

Awesome to hear how we all have found are way in life with the horses that have made a way or another...the good and the bad.