Each morning as we feed calves, cows, and bulls…we also slow down and feed our horses. We wouldn’t be much of a ranch if we didn’t have horses…and each has their own story.
Happy. Not so happy, oftentimes cranky, retired horse of Vernon’s. He liked to be in the front of the bunch and would lay his ears back and give all the signs to control the other horses. No one would pass him! I rode him once and this was a horse you better stick to when he was after a cow…he didn’t need you to tell him where to go… he was as unhappy with unruly cows as he was with other horses.
Tucker. The old man. Big bay with a big butt and tons of power…but the one you put dudes and kids on! He has a reputation as “gas-powered”, farting all the way up a hill. Now sway backed and retired, he often leads the bunch away as you try to catch them…he hasn’t been ridden in years, but knows what the sign of a halter means!
Cinnamon. Victoria’s little red mare. Delicate legs and a non-delicate attitude. She’s dumped Victoria more than once and so is not MY favorite horse.
Andy. Brandon’s little pony bought from Nate Brown, local horse trader. Little Apaloosa without much cow sense, safe enough for kids, ornery enough to try to step on your foot! Good at opening gates, I wanted to name him Houdini when we got him. I’ve seen him open my front gate to my yard to lead the others in to do an impromtu mowing of my yard.
Little Rooster. Johnny’s horse. This guy is a go-er…aim him somewhere and he’ll go, never mind what’s in between. Easy to get on, he’s short but full of power.
Big Red Rooster. We got these horses pre-named, can you tell? Actually belongs to the neighbors, but Daniel rides him. He needs lots of miles. He’s dumped Brandon and Vernon and Daniel. Watching Daniel ride him when he first started was hard on my mother-heart. He’s big, red, tall, and powerful and seeing Daniel play with his rope all around him was like watching a bomb ticking down. You just wait for the explosion. The explosion finally came helping a neighbor rope a calf and the rope ended up under Rooster’s tail. Can’t blame him for blowing up then…sigh.
Settler. For the first few months, I seriously thought his name was Peddler. That’s what you have to do to make him move. Ride him and your legs will be sore from kicking him, trying to get him to move. Never really used much, he’s a big lovable pet more than anything.
Tart. The mare I ride now. She’s getting up there in age and occasionally pulls up lame. Well-trained and light mouthed, she’s a good ‘un. A little attitude when things don’t go her way, she still travels well. Pretty head on a red bay body.
Kate. Uglier than a fence post. Big feet from her work horse daddy, she can walk across cattle guards and lead the rest of the bunch into trouble. Tucker fell in while following her across once. She’s got a big head too that doesn’t always work well! She’s known for spooking at large rocks, even if you just rode by the same one 5 minutes ago. She does walk fast and she knows what a cow is though.
Feather. The little tri colored paint that Daniel grew up with. They were a pair! They both came with one speed and that was ZOOM! Daniel could ride her bareback and steer with her ears… well, not far, nor fast, but it was cute. She did dump him a few times, one memorable time she wiped him off under a branch while following Victoria on Tucker. How the short horse didn’t make it and the bigger horse and rider did, is beyond me.
Willow. Ah, Willow. He was mine. Lame and retired, I really love this horse. Mentally I named him Red Willow Dancer… sacred Red Willow grows around here, and his redness reflected that, plus, I always said he could bend like willow. Light on his little feet, he needed the lightest touch to turn. He needed a much better rider than me, but was stuck with me. Not a fast walker, he made up for it when we arrived at our destination and began to work cattle. Cutting or pairing was something he loved to do… and if I could hang on, we did OK. Yup, he dumped me. Gave me whiplash once. I landed in a juniper one time, that was the softest landing I ever had! He had problems with his stifle…and afterwards always travelled with a gimp, but one that never hurt. Now he has navicular.
And a tip of the hat to those that went before…Jake, Toby, Frosty, Rusty, Tico, Brownie, Dick, Jerome, Blackjack, Sierra, Eddy, and the team of Buck and Booger.