Horse of Course
by Don Blazer
got to warn ya," said Slim. "This hoss don't look too
"I can see through a little long hair and dirt," the
snake skin boots with the silver tipped toes reassures Slim.
"Okay," Slim says with a grin.
Training horses is nothing more than teaching the horse a new
language. It's all about communication.
Once a horse knows what you are asking, he's usually more than
willing to do your bidding.
But, you have to say what you mean and mean what you say. You
can't be wishy washy and say one thing one time and something
else the next time. No horse can be expected to perform if he
doesn't know the meaning of the terms.
It's the same when you go to the auction looking for a horse.You
must understand the meaning of the terms.
Most good hoss traders are honest-in their way. They'll tell you
anything you want to know, if you just ask.
Just be sure you give a little thought to the meaning of their
terms. An "all around horse" means he's been tried at
everything and isn't much good at anything.
And your ego will get you in a little trouble if you are willing
to take on "a spirited animal for an experienced rider."
The only riders experienced enough to ride this one are at the
National Finals Rodeo, or a rider contemplating suicide.
"Green broke" means the owner ran out of knowledge or
the courage necessary to finish him.
"Light in front" means this horse will tip over backwards
with you. "Light in back" means he'll sure enough try
to kick you head off. "Little ticklish about his feet"
means the farrier has refused to shoe him again.If a horse has
been "started on cattle," or "started on barrels,"
it means he's walked past the neighbor's beef calf, or that he's
walked around a barrel without spooking.
As far as show horses are concerned, you really need to know what
is winning these days. A "reining prospect" often means
he's run away in 50 western pleasure classes. "A good trail
horse" more than likely means he'll go anywhere as long as
there's a horse in front of him.
"A good field hunter" means he's way too ugly to be
in the show ring. A horse that will "ride on a loose rein"
means you'll have to spur him every step of the way, while the
horse with "plenty of get up and go" will run through
any kind of bit or mechanical stopping device. A horse with "plenty
of gas," has frequent bouts with colic. When the "daughter
lost interest in horses" it's a sure bet she'll be off the
crutches in another month, or she ran off with a bull rider. If
the horse is an unregistered Quarter Horse, then he's a fat horse.
If he's an unregistered Thoroughbred, then he's a skinny horse
and "if papers go with him," you'll get papers, but
they might not belong to him. If you are told to "look at
that head," then the seller doesn't want you go look at his
legs or feet. And if Slim says, "He's got a lot of color,"
then Slim can't think of anything else to say about the horse.
Beware of any horse named, "Pretty Boy." A "family
pet" is not a horse you want. You can't shoe him, he'll walk
over the top of you, he's never been taught anything and you can't
speak harshly to him. The family pet "doesn't like men"
and you can be sure no adult has been able to catch him. Any horse
which is "absolutely fool proof, or bomb proof" is still
alive, but too old and too tired to care anymore.
Slim seems to be taking a lot of verbal abuse from the guy with
the silver hat band on his Stetson. "You didn't tell me that
horse is blind," the buyer says. "You didn't ask if
he was blind," says Slim. "Even though you didn't ask,
I was kind enough to advise you that he didn't look too good.
Visit A Horse, Of Course online at www.donblazer.com