Monday, December 7, 2009

Part Two: The Bucker

After I got Dancer all tucked into her new home with the little boy, I decided to look for something with a little color again. (But not a little spirit.) Obviously buying a plain ordinary sorrel was no guarantee I’d get a horse like what I used to have when I was a kid. You know, something you could just hop on, with a saddle or not, even with a bridle or not, and mosey down the road, with another horse or not. You’d cross busy highways to get to strange trails in the woods, where you’d trot past scary waterlogged recliners and the skeletons of washing machines, suspiciously out of place and ready to lurch forward at any given moment and eat a horse! And your horse doesn’t blink an eye. No, buying a sensible looking horse was no guarantee I could get that again. If they even made them anymore. Therefore I figured I might as well get a Paint.

I hated the fact that everyone was on the Paint bandwagon. They were about as popular as the horse whisperers and round pens. I didn’t want anyone to think I was following the crowd. I’ve never been a crowd follower. I just found out the other day what a Coach bag is. I was standing in line next to a lady in the post office and I was checking her out because she was all dolled up in expensive clothes with an expensive blonde dye job and expensive manicured nails you can’t do chores in. I could tell she was from the lake.

Then I saw the pocketbook. Since I was right next to her and I had my glasses on because I was looking at the Ten Most Wanted pictures, I could see it had C’s on it. I realized that’s what they’re all talking about. That’s a Coach bag. And I thought, eew, what’s the big deal? I wouldn’t pay ten dollars for it. It’s ugly! This is what everybody is putting their stuff in because it’s the fad. It can’t be because it’s nice. My orange leather pocketbook fellow blogger Di from Snappy Finger gave me could run circles around it. Even my canvas bag with the picture of the barrel racer on it was nicer. Certainly more functional since you can carry a few magazines, a package of Little Debbie Nutty Bars and a tube of dewormer in either one (which I did just this morning instead of asking for a bag in the feed store). Or a lot of money. Which is ironic because the lake lady with the ugly bag was the one who has the money. Not me. But I could carry a lot of it if I had it.

Anyway, I’d always liked Paints. Because my first pony was a Paint. I’m imprinted with the tendency for loving anything that reminds me of Cherokee. Because even though he was a 13-hand, splay-footed, cow-hocked pony with lop ears, a sway back and no gas in the tank, he was absolutely beautiful. Stunning. The prettiest pony in the neighborhood! And he’d do anything I’d ask. One time I made him walk over a rickety old wooden bridge that had holes in-between the slats just the right size for a pony’s foot to go through and get stuck, dry-rotted boards and rusty bolts barely holding it all together. It wobbled when you walked on it and you held your breath until you got to the other side. But I didn’t think anything of making Cherokee go over it. There was no question. It was the shortest way home.

When I have my mind set to something, I make it happen. I take action. And so I found the fourth horse before I even got a chance to remove the nameplate on Dancer’s stall door. He was a brown-and-white overo with a black mane and tail and a slight Roman nose that was actually quite handsome. Made him look like an Indian horse. He was real quiet and mellow, not jumpy at all. But there was a red flag. Red flag! Red flag! Red flag! I ignored it. Of course. How could I not? He was so pretty!

The owner, a dealer named Pepe’ who had dazzled me by performing reining spins and side-passes, brought him over to the round pen for me to try. It was the middle of summer and obviously no one used the round pen because the grass in it was waist-high. That was a plus. If I fell off, it wouldn’t hurt so bad. Since having Dancer, and perhaps because I was a mother now, and older, I’d started to realize that I wasn’t invincible anymore. Images involving shattered bones and chests impaled on metal fence posts occasionally popped into my head. Even though I had never fallen off her, I was, how should I say it?—a little skeerd.

For those of you who are reading this before you’ve had your morning coffee, that misspelling was on purpose. There’s a difference between scared and skeerd. You get scared when you almost get into a car wreck. It’s not funny. When you’re skeerd, it’s kind of cute. Like I was skeerd getting my bellybutton pierced. (Hey, that was Kurt’s idea, not mine! And in my defense, I don’t have any tattoos.) Or I was skeerd riding the mechanical bull in the Bar-H, back when it was a country-western place and I owned a pair of cowboy boots that were too pretty to ride in but they looked great hooked over the chrome rung of a bar stool.

But I didn’t really expect any trouble. So when I started loping and Spirit bucked, I was shocked.

“He bucked!” I cried. “Did you see that?!”

“Oh, the grass just tickled his belly is all,” Pepe’ assured me. And since I’d already named him—Spirit (of all things)—I said, “Okay.”

That sucker bucked every time I loped him. Yeah, yeah, yeah, we did everything we did just like with Dancer trying to figure it out, trying to get him to stop. But nothing worked. Somehow I didn’t fall off him either. But the day we were out on a trail ride with a bunch of friends and everyone started loping and my horse started bucking and then I “got to” crying, as they say out in the country, Kurt said, “That’s it. You’re selling him.” And I was relieved. Because I wasn’t going to say it. I loved him! And though Kurt is not the kind of husband who bosses me around, even if I was the kind of girl who would take it, I was grateful to him for putting his foot down. Because by this time, I was full-blown scared.

Nowadays you can’t even give a horse away, the market is so bad, but back then horses were selling great. Still, I put him up for sale for half what I paid since he had “an issue.” The first guy who came to look at him was a big cowboy, quite unusual to see in the suburbs of New Jersey. He was wearing a real cowboy hat. I thought, “That’s a Stetson. This will be good. He won’t let Spirit pull any crap.” But I warned him double and triple anyway. I said, “If you lope, he is going to buck.” The cowboy pooh-poohed it, waved his big hand with the crooked index finger on it and swaggered over to the Roman-nosed bucker with the confidence and assurance of a seasoned rodeo rider. Honestly, I wasn’t too concerned because of those bowed legs of his. But I don’t think they loped three strides before Spirit threw him onto the neighbor’s roof next door and the cowboy lost his hat in the process, exposing more skin on his skull than I expected. I felt sorry for him. He was no cowboy. He was only human. And Spirit needed a different kind of human.

Spirit needed The Mexican.

The Mexican, barely five-feet tall, little, like a little Mexican peanut, and shy, like a boy on a first date, was a friend of a friend who got wind of what was happening through the grapevine. He came over with our mutual friend, took one look at Spirit, and said, “I take heem.” He didn’t even want to try him.

I warned, “He’s going to buck every time you lope him.”

He said, “That no matter. He es so beauty-full.” He peeled off the bills and paid me in cash.

I have to say that I was a little worried. I was not only worried about The Mexican getting hurt; I was worried about him getting hurt and then getting mad at the horse and sending him to the sale. But I got regular reports from my friend that surprised me. The Mexican took Spirit on a trail ride. The Mexican took Spirit to a horse show. The Mexican took Spirit to the beach. The Mexican took Spirit team penning. The Mexican was riding Spirit all over the place and he never bucked! I even started to see him around, on the side of the road, heading for the power lines where there were miles of sandy road to lope down and he’d wave wildly as I passed, a happy Hispanic cowboy on a horse who could care less about grass tickling his belly.

Even though I was happy for The Mexican and relieved that Spirit found a good home, it was a kick in the pants. Still, I was determined to keep going. We started looking for the fifth horse. This time I wanted an older one. Like twenty. Spirit-less. Color-less. I didn’t care. As long as it was like… half dead. Maybe that would work.

Part three: the story of Lowdown.


Anonymous said...

OOh, was the little peanut of a Mexican man a horse whisperer?

The Blue Ridge Gal
(glad the purse is still working it's magic for you)

Tammy said...

What's a Coach? LOL! Feel entirely the same way!

Gosh, I love to read your stories. And laughed out loud at the "red flags". Boy, sometimes they are waving right in our face & we don't see it, do we! Glad the Mexican & Spirit found each other! Maybe he never lopes!

Looking forward to the next installment! And thanks for stopping over tonight!

PS: I read in your archives about quitting smoking. How are you doing? We have a lot in common - I went down that path, too & made it! At the time, it was the hardest thing I ever did! Up until I started dieting! I wrote a blog about it last year:

Gilly said...

Loved the story - even if half the words didn't cross the Atlantic! Sounds like Spirit and the Mexican loved each other in equal measure - ideal for both parties!

Sloan said...

I know nothing about these horses but you gotta love it! The Mexican riding Spirit all over teh place! I can't wait to read the next one. Debi, you have a talent. Keep 'em coming.

Beth said...

What a great story, Debi! I think it's really wonderful that all the horses that passed through your life ended up in the end with the right person for them. I'm looking forward to the story of you finding just the right horse for you. :-)

I've heard of Coach bags, but I'm like you...I had no idea what they were or what the big deal is about them. I've never quite grasped why anybody would pay a couple of hundred for a purse. Especially an ugly one...

sweetflutterbys3 said...

Lol! That was funny. How on earth did the Mexican do that?

I'm so glad you included the part about the Coach pocketbooks. I was listening to my gym friends go back and forth about some sale at Coach and I interrupted, "What is the difference between a regular purse (they say that here instead of pocketbook) and a Coach?". They shrugged their shoulders and said "cost". Huh?
I think I'll stick to my $30 pocketbooks, thank you very much!

Rural Rambler said...

Deb skeered is my preferred spelling of scared :) And I love happy ending stories and I have a visual of the Mexican and Spirit, puts a smile on my face. I know there is a happy ending horse for you here(could his name begin with an H?) and I'll be checking back for the Lowdown. Oh, I don't carry a purse, bag, pocketbook whatever we all want to call it cause I can't ever keep from leaving it where I take it. I just stuff a little pocket sized zippered wallet kind of thingie in the back of my jeans. I hope you don't run out of horses anytime soon cause I am loving these short stories which you should put into a BOOK!!!

Gail said...

Wonderfully entertaining story! Keep 'em coming.

This reminded of a Designing Women episode when a man said, Naked is when you don't have any clothes on, nekked is when you have no clothes on and you're up to something.

Jeff said...

Oh, you're so funny!! I love the explanation of the difference between "scared" and "skeered". And the cowboy with the Stetson - I guess he got his comeuppance, huh?

Don't be so sure that there was money in that Coach - I suspect more than a few people on the lake are having financial difficulties. Sometimes, it is the folks who drive old cars and wear out-of-fashion clothes who have more in the bank.

I'm looking forward to the story of the "just right" horse. Not too rambunctious and not too laid- back, but "just right"!

Nicole said...

I cant thank you enough for writing these stories!!! The word Skeerd is now in my vocabulary!! :) Your story makes me feel not so alone in my own horsey bad luck! I owned a horse for 4 yrs that I sold because he bucks. I have a toddler now and this horse SCARED me. After I sold him I went shopping for a safe horse. I found a mare who I bought w/ a 2wk trial. Vet check turned up a tumor that meant she could loose her eye. Returned her and had to get a horse from this same place. Deal was an "exchange" if it didnt work out. 2nd horse I found there I was told was 10yrs old. Vet confirmed he was 15!! For some odd reason this "horse trader" gave me my $ back. Found a "lesson horse" for sale from what seemed like very nice people. Day he walked off the trailer he became lame. Navicular. After spending $400 in vet bills on figuring out what was wrong with him, I returned him. The seller will not call me back and I'm pretty sure I will not get my $ back. Soooo you are 1 horse ahead of me!! :) I'm wishing us both luck that the next horse we bring home is a keeper!!!

Chris said...

Many years ago I bought a beautiful bay Saddlebred mare. I rode her almost daily with no problems. (She did prance a lot when in heat, embarrassingly so, but she mostly behaved for me.) Problem was she threw everyone else. A friend would ask to ride her, I would warn them, but they would assure me they could ride and that they would be OK. Next thing you knew my friend was sitting on the ground. A one woman horse? Anyway I sold her before she really hurt someone. Selling her was easier than telling my friends they couldn't ride her.

Becky Mushko said...

These stories of yours would make great public radio essays.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Funny, but it makes me think that Spirit and the Mexican were meant for each other, as in all horses belong with a particular someone. And that all horses are not always the best for just anyone...if that made any sense. lol!

I love your writing style, by the way. You could be writing about me....except I'm only on my first horse....


CountryDew said...

Gosh, I had never even heard of a Coach... except for the one at the high school that everyone is angry with for a losing season! LOL.

I am anxious to see how this ends. I had no idea buying a horse was so traumatic.

Anonymous said...

what kind heart of u..................................................

Greener Pastures--A City Girl Goes Country said...

Thanks for all the nice comments. And they were funny too! I'd respond to all of them but I think I'll spend this time going to your blogs instead and seeing what you guys are up to.

Becky, I'm going to have to ask you how to go about that.

Greener Pastures--A City Girl Goes Country said...

Nicole, I just tried checking out your blog but it won't let me. It says "blogger profile not available." I want to hear how your situation is going.

Nicole said...

Hi - I actually dont have a blog. I just stumbled across yours and had to comment! I might try searching for a horse again after the holidays. I need to wait for that excited feeling to return. Kinda burned, I'm sure you understand that!!! I have an offer to excersize some horses for a women. Would mean riding lots of different horses in her indoor this winter. Might be just the distraction I need. Have you started looking again???

Christina said...

I dont enough about horses to comment but enjoyed the story. I also know exactly what you mean by "skeerd"

Greener Pastures--A City Girl Goes Country said...

Nicole, what a horror story you've been through! Well, there is nothing better than riding a bunch of horses to give a person confidence and skill. I hope you get that excited feeling back soon because now is the time to buy. People are giving them away. I even gave one away who wasn't right for us (this was one for my daughter) because the little bit of money I could get for him was not worth worrying about him getting a good home. So I gave him to a friend and now he's safe and happy. I get very attached to them.

Yes, I am on the horse hunt again. I blame that on one of our blog buddies who after reading my last story, contacted me about a horse she had for sale. Someone else bought him before we had time to go look, but now I have the bug! However, I should clarify, these stories happened about ten years ago and I've since purchased a herd of horses. Some worked and some didn't. Nowadays, I'm past my fear though I know it's still inside of me, ready to rear its ugly head if given the right conditions, lol. I'm on the horse hunt again because my main barrel horse has headshaking syndrome. He's seasonal so I can only ride him in the winter. So I need a summer horse, so to speak! I was going to wait before I started looking, but because of what I told you, about how now is the time to buy, and that blog buddy dangling one under my nose...I think it's time to shop!

Take that guy to court to try to get your money back.

Gail said...

You were the first name out of my hat. I let hubby do the honors and since he can't see, he did not cheat.
Email me with your address and I will get them shipped.

Gail said...

You were the first name out of my hat. I let hubby do the honors and since he can't see, he did not cheat.
Email me with your address and I will get them shipped.

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horsespiritwriter said...

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Greener Pastures--A City Girl Goes Country said...

Horsespiritwriter, I tried to go to your blog but I'm not invited. I always love to read horse stories. If you'll invite me, I'll come.

Anonymous said...

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