one dollar and other considerations… horse

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.

38 Comments on “one dollar and other considerations… horse”

  1. Eric Alagan says:

    Thank you for sharing this part of your life. Heartfelt.

  2. Oh, how sad!!! I am sorry to hear of your loss. The hoofbeats will always remain in your heart.

  3. TheOthers1 says:

    You almost made me cry there at the end. I remember when we had to put my dog down 2 years ago. I had dreams after about him.

  4. Bumba says:

    A fine horse and a fine story.

  5. globalunison says:

    This is so beautiful to read how humans can be so close to their tamed animals and even after years remember them in stories and write in their tribute! This was an over-whelming story with heartfelt emotions! Thank you for sharing.
    With love and blessings,

  6. What a beautiful tribute to a beautiful horse. How lucky she was to have lived as long as she did and with such caring loving owners.

  7. This post made me cry! It sounds like she was a good horse and you all gave her a good life.

  8. jiltaroo says:

    She sounds like a dream. I love horses and have spent a lot of time around them (will be getting to that part of my story eventually). A horse like this is an absolute treasure and it sounds like she had a wonderful life. Those are rich memories my friend. Sounds like she was an expert cutter!

    • billgncs says:

      were you a jumper? Did you ride one of those Aussie saddles? They look like fun.

      Horses have personalities, and some are great athletes, some are just kind and gentle. It was a pretty good life for a horse, but I think she never forgot she was a working cow pony.

      • jiltaroo says:

        No, I was a Jillaroo (hence my blog name). Just in case you don’t know, a Jillaroo is a female version of Jackaroo. An Aussie cowboy/girl. I did this for 4 years in my 20’s. I love working horses especially Quarterhorses. So intelligent and willing. Yes Aussie saddle all the way but I do like western as well.

        • billgncs says:

          excellent! I will have to post a picture of my big western saddle with the big tapaderos. It is as far on the other end of the spectrum as one could get.

          I look forward to hearing all about life as a jillaroo. I agree about quarter horses. Rosie had some quarter horse in her. She was always willing for sure.

  9. russtowne says:

    Thank you for sharing this touching, beautiful, and poignant reminder that all mortal life ends no matter how much we wish that it would not. Rosie was clearly a wonderful horse and I’m glad that your family had her and vice versa.

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