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Sunday, February 28, 2010

Horse riding on Sunday and a tale of my horse named Tommy

Sadie is learning how to ride a horse today. Someone who is related to my wife has a daughter that is a rodeo princess. The princesses are holding a horse riding camp to raise money for new outfits or shiny things or something. So, we paid $35 so that Sadie could learn to ride a horse. This is not a good thing. Now she will want a horse. The first part of the horse riding clinic should have been how to clean a stall. A good solid hour of shoveling manure, then an hour of stacking hay bales, next two hours of fixing fence, then a half hour of cleaning hooves, then fifteen minutes of riding the horse, followed by an hour of grooming the horse, then another half hour of feeding the horse. That would have been a better introduction to horse riding.
I took a profession look at the hay they have been feeding their horses. My hay is better.
I got a bit tired of watching them all ride in circles in an arena. Sometimes they switch directions which is kind of interesting as not all the horses switch at the same time. The horses have been around this circle before and I think they may have it figured out.
I need to be a friendly and out going person. This is an opportunity to sell hay. But, then I would have to talk to people. I'm setting in the truck. I brought my iBook.
I kind of think this whole rodeo thing is a bit silly. You see, I know I'm not a cowboy. I don't have any cows. I kind of like horses. Riding in circles seems kind of pointless. I guess that is how you learn.
When we first moved to the farm I got a horse. I used to read a lot of horse stories. The Black Stallion, Will James, that sort of stuff. We had cows and every year we had the spring great trail ride when we moved the cows from the barn to the river for the summer and then fall trail ride when we moved them back again. This was only a mile and they pretty much knew the way.
Once we didn't bring them back in time and the river flooded, they were stuck on a little strip of high ground and we had to take them hay with the loader tractor. I think we fed them by hauling hay in a row boat also.
But, I digress...
Word got out that I was looking for a horse. I think I was 12 or so. The crusty old neighbor dude who thought he was a cowboy and bought and sold cows and horse brought out a pony. He was half welsh and half quarter horse. The selling point was that his was the horse's last stop before the macker. I bought the horse and I think he threw in a saddle and bridle.
The horse's name was Tommy and he was opinionated. He wanted to stay in the pasture. Our first trip ended with a swim in the irrigation ditch. He would also head for low tree branches.
My father said he would put a stop to that. So, dad hops on with his farmer overalls and puts Tommy through his paces. Tommy objected and even wanted to rear up. Dad smacked the crapolla out of him. After than Tommy was a different horse. He even came to like me once I figured out how to ride him. I think he had two legs on one side that were shorter than the other as he always seemed to pull to one side. If you just let him go he would slowly veer to the right until he made a huge circle and once he passed the apex of the circle he would high-tail it for home.
We used to do a lot of exploring down at the river. He really like to smash through the bushes. He was a pretty good horse.
One of our relatives decided she wanted to ride him. He didn't like her. Of course she would walk out in the pasture calling him and swinging the bridle reins in a circle. This did not work so well. He was basically a lazy horse. It was not that he didn't want to go anywhere it is just that he would rather go home. Should you make a big deal out of going on a ride he would stay just out of reach. I think that was smart of him.
I could almost always catch him. I took him some hay or a bucket of grain. And, when I got done with my ride I would brush him down and give him more oats.
Once I gave him a doughnut. He did not like the doughnut. He made faces like Mr. Ed. and spit out the doughnut.
Once I had to take his temperature. This did not work out so well. I only did that once. I could understand his point.
I kept him for years. I have no idea how old he was. Eventually he got cancer. He had some sort of tumor on his "Return of the Black Stallion," parts. This gave him a woodie all the time. He didn't seem to enjoy it.
The vet said it would take a really deep hole to bury him. So I sold him for dog food. I gave him an apple when I left him.
I have always felt guilty selling him for dog food. It just didn't seem right.


  1. I have cows but am no cowboy. The last horses left this farm over 50 years ago. The time I have spent on a horse in my life could be measured in minutes. Probably one of the most uncomfortable and scary things I have ever ridden. I much prefer the iron horse where I feel I at least have some control where I am going. Horses are fine when somebody else owns them though. Just my opinion, others may differ.

  2. Hi Ralph,
    I like horses, or at least the idea of horses. I think it would be a slower and harder way of working. When I had a horse I liked working with him very well. I don't care so much for horse fashion, horse people, women who own horses, people who think they are cowboys but are not, a lot of the strange fellows who wear pants that are too tight and pretend to farm with horses, so I guess, I do limit myself...
    I've watched old crusty dudes log with horses which is cool.
    Not really my thing in real life however.

  3. I remember being about six and carefully reaching through the board fence to feed an apple to the hulking, black, gentle last survivor of my grandfather's final team. Even though Grandpa had been one of the first in the county to adopt gasoline fueled tractors back in the 1920's, like many others who had farmed with horses he had a life long affection for his workmates and kept a team for hauling straw from the field and such long after he would have had to. I think I would not enjoy being married to them. The neighborhood infrastructure no longer is in place where you could trade chores with others to be away from home for more than a day.

  4. I've had a couple horses in my time-liked them both. I started out riding with the neighbors and then graduated to riding by myself-the horse was better company. I traded the first for the second-should have kept the first one, he was a steadier hand. Sold the second one so I could afford to keep my first wife-should have kept the horse and got rid of the wife. Ended up doing so anyway. Looking back, I should have bought another horse, rather than getting remarried, but I was young and stupid then.


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