I have adopted
I have really BIG news to tell you this week! Maybe you know I’ve never given birth; maybe you even know I inherited a couple wonderful kids when I married my cowboy; maybe you don’t really care…
What I’m trying to say is, I never even thought of adopting them. I never thought of adopting a baby. I never gave adoption in any form a second thought. But now, I HAVE ADOPTED!! That’s my BIG news, an’ I think I’m kind’a likin’ the idea.
His name is Pistol, and he’s a 3-year-old sorrel gelding with a white spot in his face. He grew up in the White Mountain wild horse herd and was captured late last November. We met at the Wyoming Mustang Challenge in Douglas last weekend, and that little booger caused me to do this thing I never DREAMED I would do!
That word adoption is pretty scary, y’ know? I got to ponderin’ just why – when I never adopted my wonderful stepkids – I’d want to adopt Pistol. I finally figured out it’s because he’s gon’na take care of my cowboy and me in our old age! He’s not gon’na step in any prairie dog or badger holes – or slip and fall on any icy, snowy cow trails – or bog down in any flooding creeks with scary, steep banks – or let any mean ol’ bulls knock us down. He’s never gon’na say any day’s work is too long or too hard for him, an’ we’re never gon’na have to carry our saddle home. An’ he’s not gon’na demand a lot from us in return.
That’s ’cause our Pistol is like a tough, “street smart” kid that’s been raised rough and learned to do a good job of looking out for himself. He grew up doin’ a lot of running over a lot of really rough country. He grew up without too much to eat or drink, no warm barn to live in an’ nobody givin’ him any expensive pedicures, ’cause his feet are rock hard and durable. He doesn’t believe in a “free lunch” ’cause he never heard of one.
Y’know, I kind’a think we’re gon’na live happily ever after… an’ you’re welcome to drop in and meet Pistol an’ congratulate us just any time your trails lead this way.
Actually, through our ranch daywork in some big, rough country my cowboy and I have had the opportunity to ride a horse from the Wild Horse Adoption program. We found a lot to like about her – all the things I enumerated above. We decided to take a drive over to Douglas during the Wyoming State Fair and watch the Finals of the 2008 Wyoming Mustang Challenge. In case you’re not familiar with that event, trainers are given a wild horse and have about 90 days to gentle and train them, then come together for a competition and, ultimately, the adoption of the horses into new homes.
Patti Colbert – who heads up the Extreme Mustang Makeover program for the Mustang Heritage Foundation through the U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management Wild Horse and Burro Program – hails from Fort Worth, Texas and is a friend of ours. At the August 16th event we were able to enjoy the freestyle exhibitions of the top ten horses and their trainers, selected through competition from the 28 horses that began the program.
That performance did credit to the ability of the trainers from Wyoming, South Dakota, Colorado, Idaho, Montana and Utah – and to the intelligence and athletic ability of the wild horses. We saw 90-day horses working cattle, reining, jumping, dragging loads, performing with just a string around their neck, having slickers picked up off the ground at a run and whirled around their heads, having people stand in the saddle and crack whips or fire pistols, being ridden by young children and just generally doing about anything anybody’d ever want a horse to do.
We apparently weren’t the only ones favorably impressed – the adopted horses brought in a total of $47,500 with an average adoption fee of $1,800 paid. Winners of the competition included Zeph Schulz of Coalville, Utah and Marty in 1st; David Weeding of Pompeys Pillar, Montana and Okie in 2nd; Scott Hulme of Montpelier, Idaho and Ozzy in 3rd; and Andrew Lee Bowman of Olathe, Colorado with Champ in 4th. Wyoming trainers picked up 5th through 8th – including our Pistol and his trainer Todd Nunn of Lovell, who finished 6th.
Marty, the champ, brought in the most money, first being bid in at $3,500 by an oil company which donated him back to be re-sold for a bid of $2,200; totaling $5,700. Okie topped the bidding at $5,100 and typey, Thoroughbred-looking Nigel (8th) was close behind at $5,000.
The Extreme Mustang Makeover competition, show and adoption will take place next month at Fort Worth, with more than 300 horses involved. Last year the adoption fees for 100 head there averaged $2,300. To learn more about this program, go to http://www.mustangheritagefoundation.org; write Mustang Heritage Foundation, P.O. Box 703, Bertram, Texas 78605; phone (512) 355-3225 or fax (512) 355-2737. And don’t forget the Wyoming Mustang Challenge returning to Douglas in 2009.
Since we’re talking about heritage… I know this isn’t very horse-related, but many of you may want to know about the 75th Anniversary of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) and the opening of the CCC Museum. This event starts at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, September 20th at the former Forest Service headquarters just a short way beyond Hill City, South Dakota on the road to Rapid City. That facility is being dedicated at that time as the new museum, and artifacts, diaries, news clippings or any pertinent materials or information are sought. The public is invited to this ceremony, and to learn more you can contact Peggy Sanders, email@example.com.
In closing, we extend condolences to the Norm Foos family on his untimely passing. They breed good Angus cattle and treat their customers excellently… and son Bryce is as fine a horse trainer as you could find anywhere. Our thoughts and prayers are with the entire family at this difficult time.
Looks like we’ve come plumb to the end of our ol’ lariat rope once more…
© 2008 Rhonda Stearns
Email Rhonda at firstname.lastname@example.org