Last week I wrote of my relative inexperience in the horse business. Actually, I have only been “around” horses on any kind of consistent basis for the past 10 or so years.
I also wrote of how I got the “soup” kicked out of me on a fall morning seven or eight years ago. It was an experience that brought me to my knees – an experience I never expected to encounter ever again. I came away from the experience with a healthy respect for horses and their incredible turning speed.
To be kicked by a horse or mule once in this life is enough. So, since that fall morning that seems so long ago, I have remained cautious in the presence of all horse flesh.
Although I have ridden mules into the Grand Canyon a dozen or more times I have been disinclined to climb on a horse. At my age, I cannot afford having the ground fly up and catch me on the way down off the back of a horse. My bones are too brittle and the thought of rehabilitation does not appeal to me.
We (my son, Joseph and I) own two horses these days. One is a 12-year-old mare named “Nothin’.” Joseph purchased her from an old cowboy who needed some quick money to pay his daughter’s college tuition. She (the horse) was named “Nothin” because the cowboy said, “she didn’t know nothin’ when I first laid hands on her.”
“Nothin’” is a big, tri-colored paint mare with dazzling blue eyes. In cowboy language “she ain’t got no holes in her.” She is the total package. I declare. You could ride that mare to McDonald’s and she would stick her head in the drive-up window if you asked her to.
Our other mare is a 6-year-old named “Dollar.” I’m not sure how we came up with that name. When she turned three, we sent her out to Missouri to have a young Mennonite farmer work with her.
When she came back, she was 200 lbs. lighter and “green broke” to ride. We have hardly had a saddle on her since. She has always been easy to catch and quiet around children. You might say she has never been a problem – until two weeks ago.
Early one morning I was on a mission as I entered the horse lot. I was needing to move a feed trough through a gate into an adjoining pasture. The trough was one of those, long metal-framed types which features a heavy, black plastic lining. I huffed and puffed as drug it 100 feet or so.
My efforts seemed to excite both mares as they began to buck and run. My plan was to leave the trough at the gate, feed the mares in their individual rubberized feed pans; and while they were distracted, drag the trough through the gate.
As I left the trough to separate their feed pans, the younger mare came rushing in on me, then wheeled to the left, kicked up her heels and sped away. I thought nothing of it as I refocused on my task. Suddenly, she was on me again. There was no time to react. Her spin was lightening quick as she (in horse talk) “mule kicked” me.
Her right-rear hoof landed in my upper chest, inside the cradle of my right shoulder, just below my collar bone. I hardly felt the impact. The other rear hoof delivered the crushing blow. It struck squarely on the point of my left hip.
My leather belt saved the day as the impact of her hoof was diverted into my left side. Amazingly, it did not knock the breath out of me, but it did double me over. And hurt! For a few minutes I couldn’t move. I waited to get my bearings. My first effort went into taking a step to see if anything was broken.
I lifted my shirt to find a pink and red hoofprint in my side. The blow had landed just under my lowest rib.
My side was black and blue for 10 days. My upper chest was blue and green for a week. It could have been a lot worse.
I have lived a serendipitous life. I believe in trying new things regardless of your age. I’ve always heard that “third time is charm.”
Lately I’ve been thinking about starting a new business. I think I will go into the sign business.
I’ve already started on the first one.
It simply reads “Horse for Sale.”
Jack McCall is a motivational humorist, southern storyteller and author. A native Middle Tennessean, he is recognized on the national stage as a “Certified Speaking Professional.” Copyright 2020 by Jack McCall