Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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Monday, April 21, 2014

Elementary Horse Trading


Me and Zee.
Now that's a little more like it!
At sixteen, I made my first foray into the wide, exciting world of horse trading.
Let's just say it was a learning 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.
And 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 permanent 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 do learn quickly.
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.

10 comments:

  1. Whoa, You just popped this one up. I laughed when you wrote that the drugs had worn off. Talk about buyer beware. Glad you and Zee could bond. Wonder what ever happened to Fancy?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah. We were talking horses at our family get-together. This is one of my most vivid memories . . .
      Her new owner was much more experienced with abused/difficult horses. He kept her for many years. Happy ending for everyone!

      Delete
  2. You can't judge a book by it's cover....or a horse by it's first impression it would seem.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They used to say 'Never buy a horse with the blanket on'. Now, it appears, you have to do a blood test as well . . .

      Delete
  3. I bought my first one at 15, nice horse but didn't want to anywhere! Sold her for a faster ride. My "Roni", yes short for macaroni! Lord I miss that horse! Wouldn't be able to do much with her now!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What would we do without our memories?!

      Delete
  4. Doping - not just for athletes ...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yep. Even trickles out into the equine world!

      Delete
  5. Wow, I guess they probably did drug her, eh? I wouldn't have known that a horse should change overnight like that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was a shock. I've been thinking of writing Dr. Jekyll and Miss Hyde: The Equine Version . . .

      Delete

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Diane was born and raised on one of the last of the great old Southern Alberta ranches. A way of life that is fast disappearing now. Through her memories and stories, she keeps it alive. And even, at times, accurate . . .

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