Shootin' the Breeze

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Archive for the tag “trick horse”

Keeping Me in Line


It has come to my attention that I am bossed around by animals.  I am reminded to do my chores and scolded when I am too slow.

Beau, our Yellow Lab, tells us when it is his supper time.  He stands on the deck and barks.  Then either Sugar or I dutifully fill his bowl and Sadie’s.  Sadie lets Beau do the advocating for the two of them.  Beau sometimes brings his bowl in his mouth if we are too slow to get the hint.

Scamp, our trick horse, has remarkable vision.  If I go out on our back porch, which is screened in, he notices, and whinnies.  I would be complimented that he is greeting me because he loves me, but I know better.  He wants me to go to the barn and feed him and the herd.  None of the other horses scold me like Scamp does.  He can be out in the pasture, half a mile away, but if he sees me walking toward the barn, he moseys towards it too.  Then the other horses notice that Scamp is heading in and the pace picks up.  Eventually, all are running to the barn. 

I just wish these animals would pitch in with the chores.  They are happy to eat the hay, but I don’t get any help from them when I stack it.  I need to tell them the story of The Little Red Hen. 




Occasionally, I introduce y’all readers to some of our animals.  Today’s featured friend is Scamp the Wonder Horse.

After you read his story, you will understand why I call him that.

Scamp has an interesting background.  Unlike our registered Quarter Horses (A.Q.H.A.), Scamp is of mixed parentage.  His sire was named Certified, an Arabian stallion.  His dam was a Paint mare named Flashy Girl, who was a champion show horse.   Scamp was intended to look like a Paint, but he mostly took after his father, except for white socks in front and a big white blaze.  He is registered as Certified Flash in the Half-Arab Registry.  His only friends are Quarter Horses.  He does not fit in, yet he does not know it and they do not know it, so I guess it does not matter.

Miss Sugar bought Scamp when he was a foal, only about five months old, for a “fire sale price.”   At that point, he was a stud colt.  About a year later he became a colt that was no longer a stud, i.e., a gelding.  In addition, he had a congenital problem with his hind legs from a too tight ligament which required surgery.  So he was not off to a very promising start.  His ambition to be King of the Wild Stallions was short-lived, similar to my aspirations of starring in the N.F.L.  (No, I have not been gelded.  I was using an analogy.)

When Scamp was still very young and had not yet been trained to ride, a fella who was supposedly hired to feed and water the horses, did not do his job.  Due to some personal problems, he did not come out for a few days.  Consequently, Scamp and another gelding, who were in pens and not out in the pasture, went without food and water for a few days.  Upon returning home from a trip, Sugar found these poor horses suffering.  The older horse survived better.  He was still on his feet.  Young Scamp was on his side, dehydrated.  The veterinarian prescribed a curious remedy — Pepto Bismol.  Sugar tilted Scamp’s head back and poured bottles of it down his throat all through the night.  She saved his life.  (The young man who caused the problem by not showing up did not fare as well.  Just kidding.  Sort of.)  Anyway, Scamp knows that Sugar saved him.  They have a special bond.  He is supposed to be my horse, but he isn’t.  His heart belongs to Sugar.

Scamp trotting

Since surviving those early challenges, Scamp has been healthy as a horse.

He turned out to be a pretty good ranch horse.  He is good around cows and on trails.  You can rope off him, provided you can rope.


Scamp comes when he is called.  He is easy to ride.  Sugar has given children riding lessons on him.  What makes him most popular is that he can do tricks.  He can count.  He can bow.  He can shake his head “no” or nod “yes.”  He can tell a secret.  He can laugh. He is a star at parties at the ranch.

scamp bowing

Our least expensive horse became our most valuable one.  He’s had the last laugh after all.



Some of you reading this might not have had the experience of living in the ranch country of the American West and might not believe all of the stories I write about, such as seeing buffaloes and pronghorns or killing rattlesnakes.  I want to assure you that all the blogs I have written so far are all true.  Today’s story is no exception.   

Today is June 30, 2012.  Miss Sugar and I had planned to go up to Cheyenne, Wyoming for the Single Action Shooting Society (SASS) event known as Hell on Wheels.  That adventure was going to be the subject of today’s blog, but it will have to wait until tomorrow because I want to first write about what just happened when we got home.

So as we drove up the lane, we noticed a pickup truck with a  stock trailer backed up against a gate by the barn.   That is not an unusual sight.  We have a pickup and we have a stock trailer.  The trouble was, this particular pickup was not ours and this particular stock trailer was not ours but the barn and the gate are definitely ours. 

So the question that Miss Sugar articulated with her Texan candor concerned her suspicion that persons unknown might be up to no good.  Rustlers!  Rustlers?  That’s a hangin offense around these parts.

There were two cowboy types in our pen by the barn trying to convince a calf to join his friends in the trailer backed up to the gate.  Apparently, this calf was not that close of a friend in that he was very reluctant to join the other calves. 

You are probably wondering, “Was it your calf being rustled by badmen?  Did you shoot them per the Code of the West?  Did you use the Colt .45s you have for the SASS competition?”  Those are excellent questions, which I will answer for you.

No, it was not our calf, so, no, I thought it would not be proper to shoot them.

However, the question remains, why were the cowboys, calf, truck and trailer in our barnyard?

So I drove down to ask the cowboys that very question.

A young feller came over and introduced himself as Brad Hall.   Then Brad offered an explanation.  He said that he and this other feller, Ken, were hauling cattle when something happened to a tire on their trailer right in front of our place, which caused them to stop and unload the bunch in our pen.  He said that they knocked on our door but no one was home.  That was because we were up in Cheyenne at Hell on Wheels, which, like I said already, I will write about tomorrow.

Miss Sugar said, “Your trailer looks o.k. to me.”  Which it did.

So Brad said, “Oh, it ain’t this trailer.  After we unloaded, we took the other trailer with the bum tire to our place and came back with this one.  We got all the critters loaded in this trailer except this last stinker.  We been trying to get him in for more than an hour.  If I had a .45, I’d shoot him right here and give you the meat.”

I know what you are thinking, gentle reader.  You are thinking, “Al, didn’t you just say you have two Colt .45 pistols for your SASS competition?”  

No, I did not offer Brad the use of one of my .45 sixshooters.

Instead, we offered to help him load the calf.

I wish I could say our help was valuable.  It was not.  That dang calf got around Ken (not me) and took off out of the pen into the pasture.

I know what you are thinking.  “Didn’t you write in Where the Deer and the Antelope Play that your buckskin gelding, Woody, is perhaps the fastest land animal in North America?  And didn’t you write in Wonder Horses that Scamp is a real smart trick horse like Trigger?  Wouldn’t Roy Rogers use Trigger to chase that calf right into the trailer?  Or would you just rope him and drag him?  Didn’t you say you have participated in roundups and cattle drives and brandings?”

We four were not mounted on cowhorses.  We just chased the calf on foot into a different pen, our stud pen, which is six feet high and made of pipe and cable.  It is a good thing it was available.  (Remember, Woody used to be a stallion, but no more.) 

So Brad go out a rope and roped the little calf in our stud pen.  Ken helped him hold the calf while Brad tied the calf’s hind legs.  Then they dragged him to the trailer and lifted him into it and that was that.   

They thanked us and left.

Miss Sugar and I walked from the barn to the house.  There we found a note taped for us in case we came home and wondered about our new calves before Brad and Ken returned.  It said, “Dear Folks, Sorry about the issue at hand but we were forced to unload these calves.  (Two phone numbers were next).  Please give us a call.  We will return ASAP.  Going to Middle Cherokee Park.  Thanks, Brad.”

What a fine young man!  I’m glad I didn’t shoot first and ask questions later.

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