The Saga of the Appaloosa **LONG< LONG**

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by Rusty Hills Farm, Nov 4, 2009.

  1. Rusty Hills Farm

    Rusty Hills Farm Songster

    Apr 3, 2008
    Up at the barn
    This is a true story, but I never knew the end until today.

    Even when I was on active duty, I always kept horses. A long time ago I had them in a commercial barn, which is how I came to meet the Appaloosa, a 4-year-old bay gelding with a gorgeous blanket. He stood about 16 hands. His daddy was quarter horse The Ol Man, one of the fastest quarter-milers of the time. He was bought at auction by a fellow as a gift to his girlfriend. However, he registered the horse in his own name. So when he lost the Appaloosa in a poker game a few months later, Girlfriend did not have a legal leg to stand on, and the horse went to a fellow Marine whose passion, whose ONLY passion, was gambling.

    The Marine quickly discovered the Appaloosa was the fastest horse around and he made a killing match racing him. He boasted that he made $30 grand on the horse in less than 6 weeks. At which point folks stopped racing against him. By now poor Appaloosa was standing knee deep in a filthy stall and the barn own said clean it or git. So the Marine sold him.

    The buyer was a young woman from my barn. She bought him for her husband, an over-the-road trucker. The day they delivered him was the first time I laid eyes on the Appaloosa. He was a beauty….but hyper from the mishandling he'd received by the Marine. Trucker was still over the road, so Wifey dealt with Appaloosa for about a week until her husband got home. She was plainly afraid of the horse and never let him out of the stall all the while feeding him a 16% protein feed. Trucker came home to a horse that was high energy, to say the least. They had several ugly scenes together, twice ending with him beating the crap out of the horse and shoving him back in the stall. The first time he and Wifey went riding, Appaloosa blew up…and Wifey's mare was seriously injured. The vet wanted to destroy her on the spot and Wifey tearfully agreed. She was really torn up over that poor mare. Barn owner said because of his zoning the horse could not be buried there. So they had no choice but to sell her to the Meat Man.

    He arrived first thing in the morning and loaded the crippled mare. Meantime Trucker tried to feed the Appaloosa and got either bit or kicked—I don't think he actually knew which, only that he was bleeding. Angry, he sold the gelding to the Meat Man on the spot. But the Meat Man was nobody's fool. He agreed to buy the horse and even agreed to Trucker's price BUT Trucker had to put the gelding on the trailer.

    When I got there, the Meat Man was long gone and the gelding was loose, without even a halter, out in the arena. It had apparently been quite a rodeo and now nobody could catch the horse. Trucker had posted a big notice on the arena gate to the effect that he was giving the horse to whomever could catch it. Everybody tried and one guy even wound up in the ER over it.

    Next morning, a friend and I roped and sidelined him, and hog-tied him in the middle of the arena. He fought like a wild thing until I covered him with horse sheets until only his nostrils were showing. It took him a couple of hours to quit fighting and relax, at which point I uncovered him, put a new halter on him, and let him up. He came like a gentleman and was a total sweetheart for the next 6 months that I owned him.

    By then Girlfriend had found out where he was and she came every day to see him and talk to him and generally just hang around the barn. She did love that horse. Even a blind man could have seen it. So when I got my orders for Pendleton, I wasn't too surprised that she asked me to sell her the horse.

    I really struggled with that one. He was a grand horse. She plainly loved him. I finally said yes. Afterwards I found out that she gave up her apartment to live in her car just to pay me. So I gave the money to the barn owner. It paid a year's rent on his stall. Then I spent the next 20-odd years wondering if I'd done the right thing. Did I do the Appaloosa a kindness or did I put him back in harms way?

    Today I got my answer. In one of the horse mags that I read, in the Death of Horses section, I read that he passed away at age 29 of complications of old age. His owner was listed as the Girlfriend.

    Rest in Peace, old friend.


  2. wegotchickens

    wegotchickens DownSouth D'Uccles &amp; Silkies

    Jul 5, 2007
    Sevier County, TN
    AAaaaawwwwwwwww!!!! [​IMG]
    Love a good story with a happy ending!!!
  3. [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Wow. Amazing.
  4. babymakes6

    babymakes6 Gifted

    Feb 24, 2009
    far west Ohio
    [​IMG] What a beautiful story!
  5. CoopCrazy

    CoopCrazy Brooder Boss

    Mar 3, 2009
    [​IMG] What a beautiful story ...
  6. ducks4you

    ducks4you Songster

    Jan 20, 2009
    East Central Illinois
    God must have told you what to do. I lost 3 of my best friends in one year:
    Trogdor ("Merry Boys Hart"), TW at age 23, RIP, October, 2008 (owned him for 5 years)
    Corporal (unregistered, but obviously Polish) Arab at age 27, RIP, June, 2009 (owned him for 23 years)
    Ro Go Bar (grandson of Go Man Go), QH at age 27 RIP, October, 2009 (Owned him for 22 years)

    Trogdor was going to be shipped to a friends "pasture" in Wisconsin, and I know what that means--ignored and eventually left to starve.

    Corporal was a winning bid against the meat market at auction, when he was 4 years old.

    Ro Go Bar was another not wanted, ex-cowhorse, who was flighty and head shy, but became my babysitter a few years after we bought him. He was the only horse of these 3 that I euthanized, but after suffering through arthritis, tooth loss, then losing his best friend (Corporal) he spent the summer in his own pasture, but he wasn't happy. He died eating, which was his favorite pasttime.

    I think that we, as horse owners need to use peer pressure to reduce the numbers, especially the "backyard breeders" who have $$ in their eyes, but no desire to properly train their animals. When I taught riding for 10 years, I ALWAYS told my students that YOU have to be your horse's trainer, and that a well-trained, well-behaved horse has the best chance of living a long life. Our economy makes it difficult to impossible for most owners to finish their horses and/or keep up with them, because everybody has to spend so much time working!!!
  7. andehens

    andehens Songster

    Aug 25, 2008
    Scenic Sierra Nevadas
    as a lifetime horse lover, what a great story! its been years since I have heard of covering them to get acceptance, good job!

  8. EweSheep

    EweSheep Flock Mistress

    Jan 12, 2007
    Land of Lincoln
    I love these stories!!!!!!!!!!!!! Good job!

    Oh by the way, Rusty, did you have a pic of him somewhere? I would love to see what that appy looked like. I thought Ole Man owner does not breed "other" breed mares except for QH or TB mares.

    Good bloodlines I must say!
  9. buck-wild-chick

    buck-wild-chick Songster

    Jul 24, 2008
    Hamilton C. FL
    Wonderful story.

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