Hanks: Howdy and Nugget
Howdy and Nugget: My two ponies, my buddies and sometimes my entertainment. I have written that in my full-time past as a cowboy and ranch manager, I considered my horses nothing more than a tool. Objects to complete the task with livestock whatever that might have been.
Sure, all of my horses had personalities as such, but when you may be riding four, five or six different horses, you might not pay attention to all of their attributes.
Years have passed and I have always had horses, except for a few short years when we were forced to live in town. Back in the country with horses and cattle during part of the year, it was time to pay a little more attention to your equine buddies especially with all of the horse whisperers and new ways of getting to know and understand your horse.
Gentle readers, you add all of that up and you find yourself with a stronger focus on just exactly what is this particular horse all about.
Howdy is a 21-year-old paint that I have had for 15 years, and Nugget is a 14-year-old dun that I purchased some three-and-a-half years ago. Howdy has always been a peoples horse in the sense you could put three grandkids on him but you would have to lead them around or he would just head straight back to the corral if an adult wasn’t in control.
In fact, I have had folks come out to ride that didn’t have a lot of horse savvy and if they were on him he knew at once he was in control. He might just toss his head, walk in circles and act like he might run off with them.
Little did they know. Just punch him with a spur a time or two and take control and he was fine. Nugget on the other hand would ride right off in big long strides and truth is, he is a little rough to ride.
Back to personalities. In the morning I will find Howdy nickering at me the minute he hears the door shut and he knows I’m outside. Then he goes into a big stretch, much like a bow and then he may start pawing at the fence as if to say, “could ya hurry a little old man!”
Nugget has this thing about him where he walks out of the corral and appears to be heading to the back side.
“I don’t need yer oats, I’m doin’ fine!”
By the time I have the feed room open, he’s standin’ there and usually takes his nose and swings the door open even more.
Both of them are fed their oats in old metal water tubs. They have a way of scattering oats around even though they have had their teeth floated. The old tubs are fairly heavy as they were used to hold 100 gallons of water.
Nugget was always draggin his tub away from its feeding position when he was through and then he would turn it over on its side.
I got tired of draggin’ it back to where it belonged and sitting it back up. One morning I walked with Nugget to his stall and when I saw the tub turned over and pulled away. I just stopped and started talking to him as if he were a child.
“Man, I reckon you don’t want yer oats this morning or you wouldn’t be messing with yer tub.” I kept on scolding him and then just turned and went into Howdy’s stall and fed him both portions. Nugget stood there stunned and bewildered as I turned and left the corral.
Get this, the very next morning when I went out to feed, I discovered that Nugget apparently had grasped that ol’ tub in his teeth and picked it up and set it exactly where it was supposed to be.
How funny! I almost “laffed” out loud at his ingenuity and understanding of what was going on. He got an extra helping of oats that morning and his tub has never been an issue since.
Children, most horses are as smart as we allow them to be. Give it a shot if you haven’t in the past.
I trust your Thanksgiving went well and I know there were exceptions especially if there was an empty chair at the table from that loved one you lost.
Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion, do your best to maintain your composure during holiday shopping! I’ll c. y’all, all y’all. ❖
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