I guess that would have to be, to begin with, one of my own horses, and of course, the head horse here, Comanche. I have had him for some 18 years, and he is now 20, but full of life and baloney – he is the horse I ride out and then dismount, take his bridle off, and we eat grass together, that is, he eats grass and I goof off. He follows me over the pasture – he might stop and eat a bit and then trot to catch up, or he might get ahead and when I call out “Comanch’! Wait for me!”, he stops and turns his head as if to say, “Well, come on, don’t dawdle!” … and he is the love of my life.
Eighteen years ago, before we met, I had a mare I had bought at the sale, by the name of Susie.. Susie was very flashy, which was her main appeal – she was all black, had a white blaze and three white feet, but she was inclined to be a little evil minded. She was Hancock bred, and most horsemen would recognize this as a famous line of bucking horses. Susie didn’t buck, but she was quite a bit cranky. She switched her tail in a bad tempered manner any time I asked her to do anything she considered outside her job description, and her ancestors’ talent began coming to the fore bit by bit in that she began to hump up and goat, and then to pitch a little, and I could see that she was quickly getting on with the family program. One day, when she was tied to the rail, I came up to get her. She saw me coming, and, quick as a flash, swung around, and mashed me against the rail. The head wrangler here at the time saw it, and said “That horse will hurt you one day!” I got a bit thoughtful about this, and shared it with Gerry, who agreed.
About this time we had a guest at the ranch who had gone to a Paint breeding ranch production sale and bought a couple of two year olds, because he couldn’t decide which one he liked better. Eventually he decided for the one who, to me, looked pink, as he was a red roan Paint, if you can imagine such a thing. I didn’t like him at all. The other one was a normal Paint, with a white face and some white on his sides, and he was now for sale.
I was telling Gerry about Susie’s antics and he said, “Why don’t you go and take at look at that Paint?” I had taken a look and I said “But he’s so small!” Susie, you see, was a big, flashy horse. “He’ll grow”, said Gerry.
I bought him, saddled him, though he wasn’t broken in at all – I think he’d had maybe one or two saddles – and rode him home. And fell in love. He didn’t know anything – I had to plow-rein him, but he never offered to do anything unpleasant, and he never has. That was 18 years ago, and we have never been parted. And yes, he grew – both ways. Today he’s tall and somewhat well larded, but as sweet as ever.
We have a new wrangler, by the name of Jim. When he applied for the job, he told Adam, who hired him, that he had a horse. Adam told me later that Jim had looked him in the eye and said: “You know, you find that special horse just once in a lifetime…. I have found him..” Of course, his horse came with him.
Yes, once in a lifetime you find that special horse. For me, his name is Comanche, though I’ve had, and still have, a couple of other great horses – but there is only one who could move into my house with me and be welcome!