Tuesday, June 10, 2008

A Good Horse Is Hard To Find

Excuse me, but I think I just read a headline that went something like "Big Brown Triple Crown Tragedy". A healthy horse decides not to run in the heat of the day and this is called a tragedy? What was it then, when a race horse recently broke both of her front legs and had to be euthanized on the track?
The tragedy here is that horses with legs never meant for that sort of thing are bred to run because horse racing is, I know, a way of life and also really big business.
Now if the headline had read "Big Brown One Smart Horse" I would have felt that we had evolved up the ladder of humanity just a bit.
At any rate, whatever the reason Big Brown went for a stroll in the dirt instead of for a death defying run around the track, he deserves nothing but admiration.
When I was a child I had a horse named Charger. Charger came to me from my brother. He came to my brother from our father. He came to our father from a World Champion Cowboy named Everett Bowman. Rumor had it that Charger had once been Everett's champion roping horse. Now, a roping horse knows a thing or two about stopping. Which was why Charger was such a great horse for me. I fell off often. As soon as my weight left the saddle, Charger stood absolutely still and waited for me to complete my unbelievably complicated climb up his front leg to my stirrup and eventually to the saddle horn and finally back into the saddle.
Charger did not believe in unnecessary exertion. He and I once came in last in an egg in the spoon race. Not surprisingly, we were the only contestants who completed the course with the egg still in the spoon I held in my five year old hands. Of course, by the time the race was over, the egg had boiled in the hot Arizona summer sun.
Everett Bowman attended that particular rodeo. When Charger and I came across the finish line, the crowd and especially Everett clapped and cheered. The crowd cheered because the rodeo could finally continue with the next event. Everett, I suspect, cheered because he knew a good horse when he saw one. So did my father. So did my brother. And so did I.
Good horses know when to stop.

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