Lee Pitts: Horse Hunting
July 22, 2015
It is the most endangered of all species, the rarest form of animal life in existence. I am referring of course to the equinis kidicus, otherwise known as "the kid's horse." I think there are only two in captivity.
The requirements for a good kid's horse are that it won't buck, kick or run fast while the child is learning to ride. Then, once the adolescent has mastered the art of horsemanship the parents expect that same horse to carry their child around the barrels in thirteen seconds, breaking Charmayne Rodman's record of ten world championships and allowing the parents to retire in the lap of luxury. Needless to say, this is a very hard horse to find.
I pride myself on being a fair judge of horse flesh and I have occasionally been called upon to evaluate the merits of numerous flea bitten broom tails. Years ago I was asked by some of our best friends to find a bomb-proof horse for their eight year old daughter, not realizing that if I found such a horse I would have to hear about its faults for the next ten years and that I would be taken off their Christmas card list.
The information that I was in the market for a kid's horse traveled faster than a rumor on Twitter. I think every horse trader in the country called and snickered into my ear, "I hear you're looking for a kid's horse?"
I learned that some of the people who specialize in kid's horses make used car salesmen seem like paragons of virtue. I checked out one "kid's horse" that belonged in a rodeo bucking string. The outlaw attempting to sell me the cayuse was so crooked he could sleep in the shadow of a post hole auger. Shortly after taking a seat on the buzzard bait's back the sun was shining on the bottoms of my boots. The crook only wanted $5,000 for the man-killer but that figure didn't include future attorney's fees or hospital bills.
In my quest for the perfect kid's horse I examined several that were barely breathing. I inspected a lot of horses that were dead but just wouldn't lie down. One was an Appaloosa with just three gaits, the walk, the stop and the parked. In action the horse sounded something like this, "clip, clop, clip, clop, huff, puff, snore." The owner was willing to sacrifice at only $6,000 seeing how we were friends and all.
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There were several advertisements in the local newspaper offering, "a free horse to a good home." These were generally 30 year old horses that had not been ridden in 15 years, that were blind in one eye and were one breath away from the bone yard. Such horses are like in-laws, you can never get rid of them, especially now that the feds have outlawed horse slaughter. If you buy one of these elder care horses you have to promise not to sell the horse for export to France and oh, by the way, someone will be by once a week to check on the old flea bag. After much looking I did find one excellent kid's horse that was dog gentle, loaded in a trailer and ate table scraps. But the girl didn't like the horse's name.
I responded to one ad that offered a horse for "$600, or best offer." The spoiled old plug was so "gentle" I could not raise a pulse. He was a little long in the tooth, and I do mean tooth.(Not in the plural sense). Naturally, the girl fell in love with the horse at first sight. They had what the father called "obvious chemistry." With visions of blue ribbons running though her head the young girl anxiously asked the owner, "Will I be able to race him in the 4-H horse show?"
"Sure you will," said the owner. "And I have no doubt you will beat him." It was an old, well worn joke but in this case, absolutely true.
Three weeks after the girl got the horse home he went to the big glue factory in the sky and my ex-friends had to pay $150 for Buzzard Bill to haul his hollow carcass away.