Saturday, December 1, 2007

Old Red

I can say Old Red as he was eleven days older than I. He was born on September 11, 1937 and I was born on September 16, 1937. So, I guess you could say that we grew up together.

Red got his name simply due to his color. He had just a few white hairs in the middle of his face and his right hoof was white. He was a Kentucky Saddle Horse. This breed is now called American saddle horse.

Red was very gentle when he was in the lot or if he had a bridle on. But, when he was out in the open pasture, he just didn't want to be caught, especially if there was another horse or mule in the pasture with him. If you hemmed him into a corner and if you ever got your hands on him, he was totally gentle. Daddy, as would I, have a hard time chasing him down, but Mother would put a couple of teaspoons of sugar on an old plate, go to the pasture fence and start baby talking, such as, "Come on then!" He'd walk right up to her until she had her hands on him. Then he'd go to his gentle side.

After Daddy got him from Uncle Jim Granade, he tried to break him into being a plow horse. This was a mistake as his gait was just too fast to pull a plow. Daddy tried to work him down to a slow gait by tiring him out. Unfortunately, this "broke his wind," meaning that he had a similar condition to a person with emphazema. But he could go for a pretty long run when I wanted him to, but I knew not to go so far so as to getting him "winded." Once an old man living near us told me that there was one way to give him longer wind. He said that if you put some clay in a tub of water, stir it up just before he drank it, his wind would be longer. I never could try that, but at times when the pond would be muddy after a big rain, it did seem to help some. This could be some of my imagination but I really thought it helped.

Red had a good smooth "running walk" gait along with several gaits. Mother used to saddle him up and ride him to visit neighbors up to a couple of miles away. She'd take me along when I was very small.

During summertime when the cows wouldn't come up to the lot to be milked, Joe or I would hem Red up and catch him, lead him to a fence or stump and get on him bareback and with no bridle. Sometimes we would put our belt around his neck. We'd hold on to his mane, put pressure on the opposite side to the one we wanted him to go and we'd bring the cows up for milking. We'd always give him a couple of ears of corn for our ride.

Once, there was Fox Hunters' Bench Show and Field Trials that was held here on the farm. During the bench show, I filled a small wash pot with water, built a fire around it and dumped a big batch of coffee in a flour sack into the boiling water. I sold coffee for a nickel a cup. One old man slept in my grandfather's old medical office building that night. Before he turned in, he said to me, "Sonny boy, I paid you a nickel for coffee tonight, I'll give you a quarter for one tomorrow morning." Needless to say, I got my quarter! I made pretty good money on the sale of coffee!

One of the three day field trials, one of the judges had to be out, so they asked me if I'd fill in as a judge. I did so on Old Red's back. That day, there was a big, heavy frost that looked so beautiful, especially down across the pasture and pecan orchard. Red carried me all over the woods and pastures of our neighbors. Since I didn't have to run him, he had no problems with his wind. Incidentally, I missed four unexcused days of school and got a total of 24 zeros on my daily classwork!

For a couple of years, I dated a girl that lived about eleven miles away via roadways. I didn't have a car as most high school kids today, so I couldn't just get in the car and ride over to see her. Through the woods, it was only about 2 1/2 miles. So Old Red was my transportation to see her. There were eleven gates or barbed wire gaps to go through along the way to her house. On a couple of occasions, it would be so black dark that I could hardly see the sky. On those occasions, when Red would stop, I'd get off, feel around and get the gate or gap open. Red would walk through and stop. I'd feel around again and get the gate or gap closed and remount on Red and go to the next one.

Old Red could tell many tales if he'd been able to talk!!!

Old Red died, in the lot after we were 21-years-old,

1 comment:

jwood0504 said...

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