Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Hank, and the History of Horses, Part 6

Early summer of '02.

I don't know if it was the heat, but it was about this time when the delusions started about getting me a horse. Spending time with Charlie was fun, but no matter how much scratchins or brushins or luvins he got fromme, he'd never be mine. He was Sara's, as Sara was his. No breaking that bond, no sir. Add to that weekends at the barn were a flurry of activity. There was roping practice, team penning, trail riding, and bunches of horse related things going on. I started to think that as long as I'm there, I may as well join in the fun. But then reality would sink in, and the advent of another boarding bill and all of the accompanying expenses would make me quit that idea real quick.

I let this thought go in and out of my head for a few weeks, then mentioned it to Sara in passing one day. It wasn't the first, and sure wouldn't be the last time she questioned my sanity. I told her I enjoyed my lessons, I enjoyed the time spent with the aloof mount named Spencer, I was at the barn all the time anyway....

So the search began.

I didn't have many criteria for my new horse-to-be. I just knew that I wanted a gelding. And a stock type, not one of those leggy TB types. And oh yeah, he had to be a black & white Paint. Other than that I wasn't very picky. Sara watched the local ads. She surfed the internet. There sure were a lot of nice horses in my price range, but none fit the bill. Oh well, it looked like I may be horse-less after all.

Then one Saturday she called to me from the kitchen. She found one. Four year old black & white Paint. Green broke. And he was local. We made arrangements to go visit the next day.

He was as described, and then some. Solid. Stocky. Broad. Bulky. Calm. Personable. Flashy. Mischievous. Mutton withered. Toed in. The good still outweighed the bad.

His owner was very honest and up-front. He had a wreck the previous fall where the saddle got under him. It took some time, but he was ok with saddles again. He had a stubborn streak, but with patience, could be asked to work through stuff. When asked how his gaits were, she said she hadn't asked for anything above a walk since his wreck. Little gun shy, it seemed.

But I liked him, and he seemed to like me. Sara saddled him up and rode around the little pasture. I don't remember what was bigger - her eyes or her smile. "He's Smooooth", she said. He seemed to know the basics, but he needed finishing. We talked for a bit with the owner and said we'd be in touch. I went back to say goodbye to the horse, and as I reached up to pat his neck he grabbed the front of my t-shirt with his mouth.

Little shit. I knew we were going to get along just fine.

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