one dollar and other considerations… horsePosted: September 2, 2012
He had been a rodeo star, now his limp bore witness. But he knew horseflesh and provided horses to most of the area dude ranches. Yep, he thought he had one me might like, and sent his daughter out for that small brown mare.
I was new to horses ( barely knew which end the food went in ), but my father in law Art and my wife Janet went around lifting hooves, and rode her back and forth. For three hundred dollars she was ours. The sales receipt read, one brown mare for 1 dollar and other considerations.
Rosie was Art’s special horse, he rode her all over the mountain. But sometimes we all got a chance to ride her as year after year we learned what a treasure she was. She had been a working cow horse, but too small to rope from since a big steer could pull her over. Always eager to go yet calm with a gentle canter and smooth trot she did whatever we asked. Sometimes, I was sure she looked back at us with those big gentle brown eyes thinking “Why in the world do you want to do that? ”
Rosie was so gentle and reliable ( unless you wore a yellow rain slicker, then she might shy ) that the kids loved and trusted her. I can’t say for sure, but I think she knew they were kids and took extra care with them. She looked after a whole generation of kids from all the families there.
Year after year Rosie would be our favorite during summer, and spend the winter running free with the herd on a local rancher’s one hundred fifty thousand acre ranch.
Once as I was returning from a ride on Rosie some horses escaped from the corral. I urged her on and we flew in pursuit cut around them and then Rosie herded them back. She knew exactly what to do, slashing right or left whenever a horse tried to break for freedom, always pushing them back toward the corral. Rosie flew from side to side, so quick and sharp on her cuts it was all I could do to stay on. Afterwards someone congratulated me on my riding and I just laughed, keeping it a secret that Rosie was the brains and brawn on this operation. I think for her, it was fun.
The girls grew into fine young women, and both Rosie and I began to show grey. Stiff and sore after long rides, Art worried she might not last the long winter on the range falling prey to hunger or a mountain lion. He arranged to have her stabled and fed during the cold bitter Wyoming winters. The farrier put special pads into her shoes, and that helped for a while but her teeth began to fail and even in the lush mountain pastures she couldn’t keep her weight up. We fed her oats and alfalfa pellets with glucosamine to ease her joint pain. Still some days she was too sore to even go out to pasture with the herd. How she would whinny and neigh from the medical pen she was confined in as her friends ran out each night.
Just one ride remained. On a sunny afternoon, we led Rosie out and fed her oats and cake ( alfalfa pellets ) while we hugged her, patted her and just told her what a fine girl she was. Mike, the caretaker, saddled up Jake and slowly led Rosie up behind third lake. Interesting how a rifle shot echoes around the mountain for miles, but I never heard it. I do know there is a cairn in an out of the way spot by third lake where she rests, safe from the coyotes and other scavengers. That was the best we could do for the small brown mare who enchanted everyone who knew her.