Horse Stories

Hero

Meet Crusader - a true friend. He has carried me through battle and won at great odds. He has conquered whole nations and led them to new heights of civilization. He has caused great things to happen that have improved the world situation.

Okay so I exaggerate a bit. In reality he has done nothing but eat, sleep and play his whole life long. But if he had the chance I am sure he would do all those things and more.

Crusader was born in a dying economy where horses were not welcome. The environmentalists killed the horse business. Think back to when Jackie Kennedy was president. Everybody loved horses in those days. When Ronald Reagan was president the environmentalists set out on a hate campaign to destroy all horses. Hell, I used to be an environmentalist. But unreasonable environmentalists turned me against them.

So here is Crusader born at the end of an era when horse people throughout the nation had been eagerly breeding their prize stallions and expecting to make great profits from what horses like to do best (besides eat, sleep and play.)

Crusader wasn't even supposed to happen. I was keeping the mare away from the stallion. But I noticed her backing up to the gate where her husband of five previous foals lived. Whenever she came in season I locked her out of that area. But I must have missed it once.

So she was running basically wild with the herd on 100 acres. One sunny November 6 morning I saw her foal ablaze in sunlight and running at her side. A true miracle as she had always rejected her foals at first due to traumatic barb wire cut accident before I bought her. She didn't like to be touched near her udder so I always had to hold her and make her nurse the foal the first few times. I found the placenta in the center of the field where the other horses had munched a ring around them probably while he was being born. There were two tiny fetuses attached that didn't live. Probably a good thing as I have never heard of triplet horses.

Well there he was running wild. He was smart. Stayed away from the barb wire fence. But how to get near him? He had no use for grain. But he did appreciate the choice morsels of grass I brought to him. He would eat them from my hand.

There were a couple of tame white wolves that visited the pasture. They ignored the herd. Except one day Crusader got separated from the herd and the wolves went after him. I was horrified but amazed at what I say next. Crusader's oldest sister went after the wolves and drove them away allowing Crusader to rejoin the herd. What a relief and proof that the herd will protect its members.

Crusader grew to be a feisty colt. He could hold his own among his sisters and cousins. But he was a danger to humans as he could whirl and kick in an instant. I heard a farm worker doing something in the pasture got kicked.

A lot of people drove by to watch the herd of "wild" horses running "free" in that big area. They admired the beauty of the scene. But we were forced out of there. I had the herd hauled to another not so ideal area.

The mare and Crusader were to go across the road to a small pasture. Getting the wild Crusader there was not easy. A bunch of people helped me. Some stood on either side of the road to keep him from running down the road. One chased him toward the new area. Someone lead the mare. I stood at the fence I had to pull down. But Crusader would not go through the opening. He had that much respect for where the barb wire fence had been.

I figured the person leading the mare was going too fast and getting too far away from him. So I took the mare and lead her back through the fence opening and back and forth through the opening to show him there was no longer a barrier there. Eventually he got the idea and followed mom down the lane to his new home.

In his new home there was a handy wood gate where I hung buckets for a bit of grain for mom and him. He would come to the gate and eat. Then I stood there with a rope halter and let him sniff it before I threw grain in the bucket. Then I touched his nose with the halter a bit further up his face each time. Eventually I got the halter up to his ears and on his face. Then I slipped the end of a lead rope through the halter loop and held for a short time and let it slip out before he panicked. Eventually he learned to trust that he would not be trapped for long by the hold on his halter.

Once I got control of his head I could safely go in with him as he could not whirl and kick me. He also had gained a bit of trust in me so he was less likely to attack. I trained him to tie using the Tom Dorrance method of moving his rear end back and forth with the lead rope looped through a trailer tie loop. I would let him go before he panicked. Eventually I held him longer and longer until he was safe to tie and would move his butt back and forth rather than pull straight back and break anything.

I did some lunging with him but he would overreact to anything touching his butt end so I figure I must have overdone the move the butt over stimulus. That is I probably hit him too hard and lost his confidence. So he has always ever since been overreactive to any move the butt over pressure. I should have been careful not to hit his butt so forever more he will probably overreact.

Time to get out and check the horses.


Horse Stories