With this in mind I have been thinking over the past horses I've had the privilege to know. As I seek out rescue stories, many seem to have that quality. While I could share horse stories all day long, and sometimes I feel a little confined. People in my life aren't horse people. It confounded my mother that I married a computer tech instead of another horse person.
But I digress... also known as squirreling in some circles.
When I was somewhere between eight and ten I was taken to see barrel racing. I suppose my parents figured I should get involved with something to keep me out of trouble. (I have no idea why it wasn't 4-H). I decided it looked like fun and it would be fun to try.
My horse at the time was a little black horse that had a terrible habit of biting named Beaux (Bo the French way). He bit me on several occasions, and I don't remember but I was hanging around with some kids in the local arena and Beaux was my hero. One of the kids wasn't very nice to me and Beaux bit him in the knee!
While Beaux was a nice trail horse and a nice horse for a kid, he probably wasn't barrel racing material. Since we had at least fifteen head of horses at any time there was probably one suited to just about anything I might have ever wanted to do.
See that's the thing with a dude string, we bought the dregs of horse society, many of whom had a previous life as a competition horse. These horses had just become to old, lame or just plain didn't win enough.
There were three candidates for my future venture into gymkhana (games on horseback). Ute, Comanche and Pal.
Ute was a beautiful line back dun. His coloring was perfect, nice soft brown with a dark line down his back, and then a little darker mane and tail. He had a nice temperament, we could put anyone on him, they could have a freaking crying meltdown and he would just plod along with out batting an eye.
I believe that Ute was a kill pen special. He had a little problem... First he had a broken nose, not sure how that happened, but he had two large welts where his nose had healed. I don't remember reining being a big deal in the early 80's, but Ute had to be at least middle aged so was reining big in the late 70's? Well whatever he had been trained for, they had trained him to do sliding stops. He had done so many sliding stops that his hocks were fused. So for us it would be like our knees didn't bend anymore. So as you can imagine he had a rather strange gate. He wasn't lame, per se but he was only ever good for trail riding after his injury. So cross him off the list.
Next up was Comanche, HE was a buckskin, not a large horse but he was a pretty little thing. I think he was on the list because he was youngish and fast, but I don't think he was trained. See, Comanche had a little problem being a run away. On a certain bend in the trail or when ever he felt like it he would just take off for home at a dead run. Now he wasn't hard to stop, you just had to actually TRY to stop him. When he took off most people were to scared to actually pull back on the reins. My folks thought that he might be to much horse for me at that age, so he was a tentative.
Lastly there was Pal, I don't remember if he was a kill pen special. We were told that his original name as Apollo, he was a creamy colored palomino, but it wasn't always this way. See when you are going to buy a horse people want to cheat you an they sure did with Pal.
Now I don't remember how this went down but Pal was so sick when he was sold to us he was nearly dead gentle. I believe that he was colicing (or he was so sick that colic was a bonus) when we bought him but he was drugged up so we didn't know. Until he went down, and it was bad. I don't know why he lived, he rolled so much he rubbed all the hair off his back.
My first memory of him was him defecating blood... No literally. I remember as a child dry heaving when I saw this. Some how my parents nursed him back to health. Once he was over his sickness they still couldn't use him because he had no hair on his back! He was a golden palomino but after recovering from is illness he was a cream color.
Unfortunately we also learned, he was NOT the most gentle horse. He was kind of a dick and picked fights in the line. He would bite the horse in front of him an kick the one behind.
The one thing he had going for him was my parents thought he would be quieter than Comanche because he was 20 years old.
One day my parents got me on Pal an we were living at Pantano Stables which conveniently had an arena. At the time of this event I didn't know that Pal was HIGHLY trained, he was a parade horse and a sport horse, just about any showy thing you can do with a horse he could do. He was no stranger to competition in an arena either.
This fateful day I took Pal into the arena for the first time, I walked him around, he was fine. My dad said well, why don't you try loping him, just nice slow lope.
OK, so I did whatever to attempt a lope and he leaped forward into a dead run. While I had been riding for a few years up to this point this caught me off guard. I flopped forward and then face planted into the arena dirt.
I'm a little fuzzy on the chain of events after that but I remember mom holding Pal while my dad was putting me on him. I started screaming that my dad was trying to kill me! They got me on him and the led him over to the hitchrail.
Rule #1 of riding horses, if you fall off and don't require immediate medical attention, get back on!
I spent the evening with a mild concussion. The very next morning I thought my parents would be mad at me... Not that, that makes any sense, but I fell of in a big way. So in a meek little voice I asked my mom if I could go ride Beaux. She said she was so relieved, she thought I would never get back on a horse after my fun in the arena the previous day.
It seems to me that it was a couple of years before Pal and I tried that again. We were in Payson at that point. For an old man he kicked ass! I won third my first year competing in the gymkhana series and I ended up winning all-around the next year. Pal LOVED competition, I think he liked it more than me!
Thiefed from http://www.cowanbrothers.com/ it's not me
While there are more stories I could tell, not bad for a horse that nearly died when we first got him.