I had a friend come down and nail shoes on a horse a week ago.Posted Jan. 17, 2014
I had a friend come down and nail shoes on a horse a week ago. I can do it myself, but I’d rather have four shoes on a sound horse, than a couple on a crippled horse.
And watching Shirley pick her way around the yard on this ice made me decide I better have a horse shod. And I have a friend who gave me advice one time. He said there are three things in life worth paying for. HBO, air conditioning, and a horse shoer. If you’ve never spent time bent over with a 1,200 pound horse leaning on you, you know why.
Years ago, I enjoyed riding in the winter. If you had a good horse sharp shod, and plenty of clothes to wear, it was kind of fun.
Coyotes were worth some money, so I packed a rifle and enjoyed the great outdoors.
I was riding Zip, a good gray gelding that I had purchased from Angie Kennedy. He was about as steady a horse as you could find.
Drug calves on him.
Pulled bucking bulls out of the arena, picked up bucking horses, sorted pairs, and taught my kids to ride.
Anyway, I was riding the south rim of Nels’ canyon and saw a couple coyotes coming up the bottom of the canyon. I tied Zip up and went out on this point to see if I could get a shot. Those old coyotes came up the bottom of the draw and I got both of them.
Zip didn’t mind, so I tied them behind the saddle and headed for the River Camp. Along the way I shot one more. I tied that one in front of my saddle. I felt like Jeremiah Johnson as I was riding along.
Unlike this winter, the wind wasn’t blowing. A few lazy snowflakes were drifting down, but they came down, not sideways! I can remember when snow sat on top of fence posts, not alongside them. You younger readers maybe don’t remember this.
And Zip, he could pick his way around in the snow. He seemed to be able to feel if there was good ground, or a hole or washout in front of him.
Over the years, Zip had built up a pretty solid reputation. I had used him at Mandan when Joe Berger brought a bunch of snotty Brahma bulls up from Florida.
You couldn’t get them into the bucking chutes. I would just ride Zip into their pen, throw a loop on one and head up the alley. When I we got into the alley up to the chute, I’d just step off on the fence and Zip would pull them into the chutes. We’d gate them, let Zip out the front, and go get another one.
We had a great bull named Bar 33 that would never stay home. He’d rather spend his off days with Henderson’s milk cows than his rodeo friends. Guess you couldn’t blame him. But every Friday, I’d take the trailer, rope Bar 33, and Zip would pull him into the trailer.
I think the horse and the bull both kind of enjoyed it.
Zip got a bad wire cut when he was getting older, so he had to be retired. Alvin called me up one day to tell me about a neighbor lady of his, Edith Kelley. She had been a nurse in The War. She was an elderly lady living alone. But everyday she got up and did her chores.
Well, the guy that kept a couple horses there had sold them. Edith just couldn’t stand the thought of not having something to take care of. She had been taking care of people and animals her whole life, and wasn’t about to let that change.
Alvin was wondering if I had an old horse that needed a home. I thought this sounded like a pretty good deal for Zip. Like Edith, he had been taking care of people for a long time. So, Alvin came over and picked him up and that was the last I saw of Zip.
A few days later, the call came. Zip was lonesome. He needed a friend. I had a crooked neck filly around there that was just eating hay. Away she went.
That’s been a long time ago. Edith, Zip, and the filly are all gone now, but I know they made each other feel pretty good for their last years.
And how I ever got to this story, when I was just going to talk about the cold, I’ll never know.