Baxter Black: How to tell if a horse is actually gentle
Freddy was two hours late. He was supposed to furnish Elroy a horse. Elroy and I sat in the shade while the others had gone on ahead. We waited for Freddy. Elroy was nervous. He hoped the horse would be gentle.
Finally Freddy came strollin’ up.
“Where ya been?” Elroy asked.
“I been tryin’ to catch yer horse!” he said.
“Wait a minute,” Elroy said, cautiously, “He’s not a bad one is he?”
“Oh, no. Just a little spirited…but gentle.”
“Well,” Freddy said, “I walked right up to him. He ate the grain right outta my hand. But as I reached to slip the halter shank over his poll, he wheeled, kicked the back of my hand and that buckle on the halter whacked me smack behind the ear!
“I tell you, I went and saddled another horse and chased him plum to the back of the pasture. I got a loop over his head and choked him down. I hobbled his front feet but it’s a good thing I left the lass rope and the halter on him ‘cause he broke my hobbles!
“I tied him to an oak tree, sideline the bugger and bounced him off the ground a couple of times to establish a working relationship. I got him saddled and left him to soak a while. That’s why I’m late.”
“You sure he’s gentle?” Elroy asked, his skin blotching.
“Oh, yeah. Spirited, but gentle. ‘Specially after standin’ there fightin’ that oak tree for an hour. I got back and the roots were showin’! I blindfolded him, snubbed him up tight and slipped on a big spade bit the size of a Copenhagen lid! I put a tiedown on him and pulled it down ‘til he looked like he was checkin’ himself for pinworms! For insurance I added a warbridle I’d built out of a bicycle chain.
“I swung up in the strirrups, jerked off the blindfold and rode him right up to the trailer. Behaved perfectly! But when I leaned to dismount he broke in two! He stuck a front foot through the windshield of my dually and climbed over the top! I was still hung in the left stirrup when he dove off the cab! I hooked a spur in the side mirror and durn near jerked my foot off, but it stopped him dead in his tracks.
“I hung there ‘til my wife come out and put on a scotch hobble. We slid under him with my ol’ John Deer bucket and loaded him in the trailer. I believe we got all the salt out of him.”
“You sure?” Elroy asked, blanched. “I can’t believe you even got him here!”
“No sweat,” Freddy said, “You can see him out there in the trailer…or, at least you can see his foot stickin’ through the side!” ❖