Tuesday, June 22, 2010
God I loved that horse!
If I could have Beau, SadieDog, and a pet crow all together life would be better than good.
That would be my ideation of a perfect pet scenario.
When I owned Beau I had access to a small pasture by our house on North Cherry Street and I also worked on a 1250 acre soybean and cattle farm that I kept him at some times. I also owned a mare named Dixie at the same time I owned Beau. Work was about 20 miles from where I lived. If I had to move the horses between the two places I needed to get someone with a horse trailer to help me.
Beau was already broke and trained when I got him as a 2 year old. Studs are interesting and if I had the proper facilities and resources, a stud is what I'd want again as my personal horse. Studs can also be dangerous, though I always felt comfortable with Beau. Whenever he had not been rode in a week or so he always bucked a little when I first got on him. It didn't take long for him to settle down though.
Beau was shy of water and didn't like wading through it much. Whoever trained him must have used a switch on him a time or two because Beau didn't like them either. I never had to hit him with a switch, but if there was a puddle of water blocking the trail and Beau refused to cross, I'd ride to a tree and break a switch. All I had to do was show it to him and he would promptly prance through the water.
I watched Beau breed Dixie through a barbed wire fence one day. Being around a mare would always perk him up. I rode him to the SLU Colosseum to let him get an anthrax vaccination shot once when there was an anthrax scare going on. There were a lot of horse owners and horses there to get the anthrax shot. Ole Beau got to prancing and showing out in the presence of the mares. It was kinda fun. Several people asked me what I would charge for a stud fee. I wish I'd known more about all that in those days. I didn't have any business since then and still don't now.
I had a friend that was a bull rider and owned horses that would help me move my horses with his horse trailer sometimes. I had Dixie moved to where I worked and needed to move Beau there too because my home pasture had been ate down pretty low. My friend wasn't available with his trailer, so early one morning I put my saddle on Beau and headed to work 20 miles away. We left the house at 6am and arrived at work at 9am. For the last mile of that journey Beau had his head down as if to say, "Come on man! How much more are you going to ride me today?" We only had a little ways more to go. When Beau got within 500 yards of our final destination, he sniffed my mare. Beau snorted, threw his head up, and pranced the final 500 yards like he had never rode the 1st mile that morning.
Beau was a good cutting horse too. He could stop and turn on a dime. My boss would often send me out to check the herd in the morning and cutout any cows that appeared sick, and herd them to the roundup pen for treatment. The cows were all black angus and they all look pretty similar. I'd spot one that looked a little sick and start to cut him out of the herd and he'd vanish into the sea of black. Ole Beau still knew what cow I was after even when I lost site, and would soon have him separated out.
I think riding a good cutting horse and working cattle is my favorite thing to do on a horse. Here is a YouTube video of a champion appaloosa cutting horse:
That sure makes me miss you Beau!
I teased my cousin Paul Lebeau once. He thought I was going to run him over, but as long as the horse was skilled he was pretty safe. And, Beau was pretty skilled. It all worked out, hey cuz?
I was taking Beau for a pleasure ride one morning and decided to wade him out into the middle of a cow pond for a drink of water before leaving for the ride. I wasn't going to let him drink too much, but he had other ideas. With me and my saddle on his back, Beau laid down in the middle of the pond and drank till his heart was content before standing back up. "Beau! That my good saddle buddy!" Another time I was riding him bareback and he thought he needed to scratch his back, so he just laid down and started rolling over on his back side to scratch. I just spread my legs and waited till he was done. What a riot you were Beau!
I wish I knew how to train horses. I can ride, but I never learned how to train one. I do all right with training dogs though.
I wanted a horse so bad when I was young I'd have done almost anything to have one. Owning a horse is a big responsibility, and requires some resources to take care of them properly. Simply staking them out in your yard might do for a while, but is far from ideal. Sadly I ended up loosing Beau early. He had gotten a little lean during the winter and my boss had just started working on fattening him up. Beau had free access to Dixie and would try to breed even when she didn't want too. One day Dixie kicked him in the head and killed him dead. I think that experience crippled me some. Before Beau's untimely and too early death, I'd go for what I wanted even if I wasn't fully ready. Now I feel a little bit of restraint preventing me from just going for it in more things than just horse ownership, unless I know I have my ducks fully lined up and I'm truly ready. How often does that happen?
I won't ever get another horse unless I truly have proper facilities and resources to care for the animal more than adequately. Just because you can afford to buy one doesn't mean you are able or can afford to keep it properly. At my current age there is a good chance that won't ever happen again in this lifetime, but "Beau, it was my great privilege to have known and owned you buddy! I wish I could have done a better job. You certainly deserved to live a longer fuller life. I'm so sorry my friend."