Tag Archives: American Quarter Horse

If she isn’t the prettiest thing you’ve ever seen, I’ll give her to you!

Wild Flower Gal with verbena (north Erath County, Texas, late winter, 2007).

Four winters ago, my neighbor, Jerry Wood who lives two miles south of me on County Road 114 stopped at my mailbox as I retrieved letters one morning.  We chatted for a few minutes as he kept his diesel truck running and as we closed our conversation he said, “I have a horse, Jack, [words unintelligible over the engine noise] I’ll give her to you!”

“I’ll give her to you?”  I had three horses at this time, two tobiano black paints and one quarter horse, Sweet Hija, and another horse added to the remuda would not be a problem to train and feed.  But, a gift horse?  I thought as Jerry drove off that he must be terminally ill or something drastic was going on like divorce or bankruptcy.  I immediately decided that if the horse was sound, I would take her off Jerry’s hands and ease his problem — whatever it was.

Within the week, I drove down to Jerry’s with my trailer hitched up, pulled into his corrals and saw Wild Flower Gal, a sorrel tobiano paint that was drop-dead gorgeous.  “Why would he even want to get rid of this beautiful creature?” I quietly thought.  In any case, he took her through her paces, showed that she was healthy and halter-trained and I liked her behavior so she would fit in after getting to know my other three horses.

After seeing her training, paces and overall friendliness, I asked Jerry, “Are you sure you want to give this beautiful horse to me, Jerry?”  I thought he was making a big mistake to give Wild Flower Away and I did not want to exploit Jerry’s problem — whatever the heck it was — in his hour of crisis.

“What?” he said.

“You did say, didn’t you, Jerry, that you were giving this horse to me?”  This was quickly going in a perplexing direction I did not like.

“Oh, no!” he quickly replied.  “I said, ‘If she isn’t the prettiest thing you’ve ever seen, I’ll give her to you.'”

“Oh, you did?”  This was definitely in embarrassing territory.  “How much do you want for her?”

“One-thousand dollars,” he replied.

I became a tad dizzy in my thinking at that point, but my mind quickly cleared the confusion:  Jerry’s diesel engine had blocked out his words, “If she isn’t the prettiest thing you’ve ever seen…”  And I had slammed his statement into, “I have a horse to give you, Jack.”

What to do?  Buy the horse and lighten my bank account?  Probably the best exit strategy.  If I did not buy Wild Flower Gal, I would probably be the center of an oft-told tale at the Hannibal Country Store concerning my over-eagerness to gainsay another yegua for free.  I did not want that circulating around the cracker barrel.

So, I bought Wild Flower Gal, loaded her up and brought her to my stables.  Jerry signed over the pedigree, pocketing a thousand.

Wild Flower Gal was pretty, but not the prettiest gal I had ever seen.  But, pretty enough to buy and train and sever any anecdote about my confusion.  Several months later I snapped the photograph of her in late winter browsing through the wild verbena.  It was fitting, this photograph, because she was in a pasture of wild flowers that reflected her namesake.  I sold her a year later for a thousand dollars to a family near Abilene, Texas, that showed her at halter and loved her well.

A lot of lessons emerge from this story.  Verify and clarify conversations of commercial intercourse.  Cut your engines when conversing.  Above all, there’s no such thing as a free horse.

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Filed under Horses, Sweet Hija, Wild Flowers of Texas

The Hardin Way

Jimmie Hardin Quarter Horses in Aubrey, Texas

Shiners Fannin Pepto, my one-year-old colt, is being ground trained and fit for the Summer Sale at Triangle Sales, Shawnee, Oklahoma, on June 5, 2010.

I took him as far as I could in ground training, but it was time to send him to Jimmie Hardin Quarter Horses in Aubrey, Texas, for training and conditioning for sale.

Jimmie Hardin in Show

I went up to Aubrey, Texas, yesterday, to see Jimmie and Shiney.

I hardly recognized him since he has a month’s growth since I last saw him.  But, that’s not all.  He has been groomed and taught manners.  He stands on his four feet in a show pose and is learning to trot with Peppy, his trainer, and Jimmie.

Jimmie Hardin has been Aubrey, Texas, for several decades, building upon the horse business of her father.  The little town of Aubrey has grown up around her.  Jimmie’s corrals border the Aubrey High School and a Sonic drive-in is just down the street.  She says that nowadays land is selling by the square foot.

Jimmie told me to go up to Shawnee on the third of June, settle Shiney into his stall and have him presented for passers-by when they come and look on Friday, the day before the Saturday sale.  She is going to purchase a leather halter and stud chain for Shiney to look his best.  There will be a bit of silver on the halter to sparkle.  I want him to look his best and that means leather halter.

Equine Body History

Horsewoman Hardin said that Shiney has taken a real liking to Peppy, the handler with whom you see in the photograph.  Peppy grooms and trots Shiney.  They have a bond together.  The treatment that Jimmie and Peppy give to my colt will engender confidence in him to trust humans and know that their touch will be kind and never hurtful.  With older horses, like my Star (levitating horse in winter), you can discern the history of treatment to them.  Ears, feet and flanks of the equine body embed the treatment of years past and one can see kind firmness, but also mistreatment and mistakes.  Experienced horsemen and horsewomen can pick up the history.  Monty Roberts, a famous horse trainer, can discern the equine-body history rapidly in the round pen and corral.

The Handler Peppy with Shiners Fannin Pepto

Peppy the Handler Alerting Shiney to Pick those Ears Up

The Hardin Way

It is important for humans and horses alike to respect the other.  It will insure a long and happy life for both.  The Hardin Way develops the horse and provides the human with a well-mannered companion.

Jimmie Hardin with Shiners Fannin Pepto

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Filed under Horses, Shiney (Shiners Fannin Pepto)