A horse lovers story.
The first time I saw Buzzard he was standin’ all alone at the far end of a big coral on a ranch outside of Colorado Springs. He looked like he’d just stepped off of one of them Leanin’ Tree Birthday cards. You know, the kind like you’d send to an old friend, tellin’ him this might be his last party. The horse’s name was Buzzard Bait ‘cause that’s about all he was good fer. A flee-bitten sack of … well … buzzard bait. His ears naturally laid back flat against his head, mostly ‘cause he hated everything, man or beast. One of his eyes pointed North, the other southwest, and that one was blind. His mane, what was left of it, was like a tangle of barbed wire. His feet looked like they’d come off a camel and took near a draft-horse shoe, but he hadn’t been shod fer years. Farriers went close only once. After they got out of the hospital they never came back.
In summer a fog of flies and skeeters would swarm around his face and every once in a while he’d dunk his head in the water trough and drowned about a zillion of ‘em. His face was half agin as long as any normal horse’s and it hooked back under at his nose, givin’ him that permanent mean-lookin’ buzzard scowl. His hide was bit and kicked from many a battle which, as the stories go, he never lost. And Buzzard’s hair? It was missin’ in patches, some from bein’ rubbed or chewed off, other places from some sort of mange he had.
The old horse had big ugly knobs fer knees, his withers looked like the Matterhorn, and his back dipped like the Royal Gorge. His neck was skinny and his hip bones stuck out like ten-gallon hat racks. His ribs stood out so bad they could have been played like a pipe organ in some big church down in Dallas. He was supposed to be a stallion but no stallion I ever saw was as mean as Buzzard Bait. His back end looked like he’d been rear-ended by a Greyhound bus. Needless to say he had no conformation. I suppose you could have stuck his head on either end and it wouldn’t have made much difference.
If you asked about his bloodlines the cowboys would all go into laughin’ fits. Rancher Bob called the AQHA once, askin’ about his genealogy and they told him never to call here again and hung up on him. Bob even sent Buzzard to the glue factory one time but the guys at the factory sent him back!
Now understand, all these things were his good points. His personality was much worse than his physical appearance.
Buzzard would cast himself on purpose jist to get you to come close, then look out! He was impossible to catch and gettin’ him trailered was World War III. He was deliberately dumb and mean and stubborn and smart. He bit and spit and kicked and squealed when anyone would get near and pity the hand who drew the chore of halterin’ him.
Once each summer the cowboys would tie him down short and saddle him so’s they could give some horsey greenhorn know-it-all the ride of his or her life. You know the kind; the ones who always say, “I had a pony when I was growing up. I know all about horses.” Right! This horse could buck so hard and throw a soul so high NASA is still up there in orbit lookin’ fer a couple of ‘em to this day.
Many of the “Horse Whisperer” types of trainers had heard about Buzzard through the years and had tried their hand at breakin’ him but the good ones all came to the same conclusion. If you can’t get a horse’s heart, you never really have his body. Any horse can make an outward show in his performance but if the heart isn’t surrendered to the will of the trainer, then that horse isn’t really broke. And in Buzzard’s case, his heart was as black as sin.
Now there was a middle-aged couple, Bill and Grace Love, who had a fancy spread down the road a ways. The Misses was known to all the neighbors as Gracie and Bill was simply called “The Boss.”
Grace had a show stallion, a world champ in both halter and performance. I mean this horse was a genuine super champion; drop-dead beautiful, perfect conformation, great disposition, blood lines from the best of the best of the best. He’d won everything in which he had ever been entered.
This champion stood alone at the top of the AQHA, the NRHA, the NCHA and all them other fancy “HAs.” I think he even won something once in the NHRA (National Hot Rod Association) and the NRA (National Rifle Association.) I’m not sure about those last two though!
The short of it was, he’d won millions in everything there was to enter and held national and world titles from everywhere. This big boy had so much trainin’ he had a string of PhDs behind his name. He was the very picture of the perfect Quarter horse. There had never been another stallion like him nor ever would be. And yet he was the most gentle, best mannered animal God ever gave breath to. The only comparison a body could make between him and Buzzard was that they were both horses, of sorts.
Now everybody knows that the original horse God made in the Garden of Eden was the Quarter Horse. There are equine theologians who debate this fact but we’ll leave that argument alone fer now. And, of course, any good Quarter Horse man or woman knows intuitively beyond doubt that all other breeds and cropouts came along because of some freak catastrophe of nature, like when a Q-horse accidentally got crossed with a spotted alligator or a Grizzly bear or some such thing. This fact can be verified by referrin’ to the history of what Quarter Horse people call the “White Rule.” But I’m gettin’ away from my story.
As I said before, the original horse in the Garden of Eden was a Quarter Horse. And if you ever wondered what that champion looked like – I mean the actual horse Adam and Eve rode – all you’d have to do was look at Gracie’s stallion. He made all other famous stallions look like yearlins!
Now let’s get back to Buzzard fer a spell.
Of course this isn’t the end of the story of Buzzard Bait. If you’d like to read the rest of this tale, free, you’ can find it above, under “Booklets.” When you finish reading, I’d appreciate it if you’d give us your thoughts in the “comments” section at the end of the story.
You might also like to look over my novels, above right, on Amazon Kindle. They’re chucked full of good wholesome writin.’
Lord bless until next time,