Tales from the O-NO Ranch | TheFencePost.com
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Tales from the O-NO Ranch

Mad Jack Hanks
Wellington, Colo.

Well, gentle readers, this is a tough subject. It’s a subject that brings out emotions in all of us and opinions vary from one end of the scale to the other. Have you ever owned a horse that you just didn’t get along with? I have. I have owned horses that I felt were unsafe and from all appearances, at a point where they could not or would not accept any change to the good. Who’s fault is that? Danged if I know.

Sometimes it’s the breeding, sometimes it’s the way they have been treated and or the way they were broke to ride or drive or whatever. If I had a horse on the ranch that I felt like I had made a mistake in buying (maybe because the previous owner had drugged the horse prior to going to the sale) I would give that pony every benefit of the doubt before I would return him or her to another sale. The safety of myself, my cowboys or whoever might ride that horse was paramount to me. An injured employee or an employee’s child was something to always be avoided while I managed ranches.

There are some of you right now that have horses that you wish you didn’t own. You are not sure what to do with them. You don’t feel safe around them and you don’t want to put someone else in your position by selling them your bad investment.

Question is … do you keep the horse and feed it, worm it, keep its feet in shape and provide it with shelter and companionship when you don’t even want it around your place?

I understand that the last killer plant in the U.S. just closed down. That means that no more horses will go to slaughter here in our country. I think that a lot of horses will be sent to the sale barn now that folks know that they will not go to slaughter. The horse market for the average ole pony will drop to nothing in the near future. I think that a good horse (and I’m talking really good gentle using ranch horses) will remain up there along with good performance horses. Friends, those kinds of horses are far and few between given the scope of how many horses are in this country.

Will there be a lot of these old horses just turned out on someone else’s place just like so many unwanted cats and dogs have been all these years? Don’t know? I sure hope not.

Those of you who have wanted the slaughter houses shut down now have your wish. I reckon we will have to wait and see what the end result will be to this difficult situation. Some younger horses may have a chance to come out okay and some older horses, I believe, will suffer longer and more painfully than before. It’s a tough one. I know that everyone concerned has their own heart in the right place on this subject. I believe that good folks can have different opinions about a situation like this and both sides can still be right to a certain degree.

We all love horses. I have had a lot of experience with a lot of different horses with a varying degree of intelligence, gentleness and just plain cold-backed, iron-jawed pig-eyed broncs that would kill you in a shake of a lamb’s tail. Horses are kinda’ like humans; some good, some not so good and some just plain treacherous!

Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion and I’ll c. ya.


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