Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

From the 50s and 60s to today . . .



Friday, January 27, 2012

Horse-Trading for Dummies

See what I mean?
Pic from: horseforum.com

At sixteen, I made my first foray into the wide, exciting world of horse trading.
It wasn't a good experience.
Let me explain.
I had been saving my money for months to purchase my first horse.
Okay, yes, we had dozens of horses on the ranch, but none of them had been purchased by me.
See the difference?
Okay, my Dad didn't, either.
Moving on . . .
Some friends of ours knew of a rancher near Waterton Park who had some horses to sell.
Beautiful scenery and a chance to buy my own horse.
It was a perfect world.
We drove into the mountains and left the main road, winding down the mountainside and into the prettiest little ranch I had ever seen.
I was filled with anticipation.
Only the best in horseflesh could come from such a place.
I was wrong.
Just FYI.
The owner introduced us to several horses, but one little bay mare immediately caught my eye.
The rancher noticed.
Perhaps my glassy-eyed stare and drool was a give-away.
He went into his spiel.
Yes. Ranchers have a spiel.
He told me I would love her. Her gait, conformation and performance were perfection.
Here. Let's saddle up and you can take her for a spin.
He did.
I did.
Everything he had said was true.
Sold!
Money exchanged hands.
We loaded the sedate little mare into our handy-dandy trailer and headed home.
Before we had gotten back to the main road, I had a name for my new best friend.
Fancy.
It suited.
Back at home, my Dad got his first look.
He examined her carefully, then shrugged.
I don't know, he said. She looks pretty enough, but I don't know.
Horse sense. Some of them have it . . .
Some of us don't . . .
Sigh.
The next morning, I went out to saddle up my new little beauty.
I got a distinct shock.
During the night, someone had come and switched my sweet tempered little Fancy with a roaring, man-killing beast.
And I do mean man-killing.
The drugs had obviously worn off.
No sooner had I bridled her, then she reared up and struck out at me with her front hooves.
I should point out, here, that hooves are hard.
And can easily be used to cause 'blunt force trauma'.
I watch C.S.I. so I know about B.F.T.
Her first unexpected attack caught me, fortunately on the very top of my head.
Where my skull is the thickest.
She knocked me to my knees, but did no damage.
I struggled quickly to my feet and moved to the nearest far-away place.
Where I watched in wonder as she began her second attack.
Yep. The first attack had been no accident.
But I was ready and she posed no danger at that point.
My decision was made, however.
This horse had to go.
I talked to my friend. The one who had taken me to buy my little whirlwind of terror.
He was very interested.
He should be, he had gotten me into this mess . . .
He dealt with difficult horses and offered, on the spot, to trade me for a horse of my choosing.
This time, I took my Dad with me.
I may be dumb, but I learn quickly.
And we agreed on a nice, black gelding.
Tall. Lively.
But without one important aspect.
He wasn't out for my blood.
An important aspect as it turns out.
'Zee' and I became instant friends.
Something Fancy and I could never be.
Sorry, Fancy.
But it is your fault.

14 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. I agree, Delores! A streak a mile wide!!!

      Delete
  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I just love that you named her "Fancy". :-)

    I've only been on two horses in my life. The second one was a trail horse that threw me. Broke my left wrist.

    Dang thing still hurts when it snows out...

    :-)

    Pearl

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Which happens often in Minneapolis in winter, right???! :)

      Delete
  4. Love your horse (and ranch) background. I know nothing and enjoy every word you write. I am reading a book right now, "The Eighty Dollar Horse," and enjoying every page.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much, Joanne! It's so fun to share my background with you!

      Delete
  5. Wow ! That was some beautiful horse though and this is very bad if they do this sort of thing, drug animals like that.
    Maybe she was scared and a little TLC could have ended you up with a great horse. Too bad. I wonder what they did with this horse?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm sure she was scared. Abused probably, poor thing. The people who took her had her for a long time, so I assume they managed to rehabilitate her. I hope so!

      Delete
  6. I always wanted a horse (as many young girls did) but your story kinda makes me glad I didn't ever get one!!!

    ReplyDelete
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