It has been four months since I bought MY new colt and the call finally came to go and pick him up. Receiving that call brought a level of excitement that I hadn't felt in quite some time. I was giddy like a little girl anticipating the arrival of a new toy.
We had few days to prepare, two to be exact, and it was too long to wait. I ran to the tack shop and bought a new weanling halter and lead rope. I felt like a new mom buying the "come home" outfit for a newborn.
I swept out the horse trailer, prepped his water tank and I snapped at Steve, my husband, to pick up some "good hay" for MY new colt. Steve placed his hand on my shoulder and quietly said to me, "Slow Down…you will have a more harmonious outcome."
That was annoying.
The morning arrived and the truck had a full tank of gas. I filled our coffee cups, grabbed the halter and lead rope and piled into the truck for a two hour drive to pick up MY new colt.
The directions from the horse breeder were simple, "get to La Sal and give me a call.” No problem, but two hours of driving to pick up a new baby seemed longer than the eight hours of labor to deliver my daughter. It was agonizing.
Steve must have noticed my fidgeting hands and heard the chomping of the gum in my mouth. He, once again, placed his hand on my shoulder and recited, "Slow Down…you will have a more harmonious outcome."
We arrived at the holding pen where the foals were all being held. They were all about the same age, nearly six months, and had just had their mothers taken away. They only had each other for support and they were huddled together in the center of a feeder pen.
There were about 20 young horses in the pen and MY colt was easy to pick out. He was at least a full hand taller than all the others. He was magnificent to see. MY colt will grow into a fine ranch horse.
Steve felt we could get him out of the pen by ourselves, given that the breeder couldn't be reached…no cell phone service in the hole known as La Sal, Utah. I refused to put up any road blocks in taking MY colt home so I agreed WE could do it by ourselves. I crawled through the containment fence and walked right over to the small band of young horses determined to simply place my hands on MY colt.
I was only one stride from the eminent, life bonding first touch when all Hell broke loose. The group of young horses, like a flock of gulls, swarmed in unison and bolted away from me. I was crushed…MY baby didn't want me…I had been rejected.
Steve must have sensed my heart break. He came up behind me and tenderly whispered, "Slow Down…you will have a more harmonious outcome.”
No longer annoying, just sad.
I begrudgingly stepped in behind him and walked toward the foals. MY colt wasn't willing to leave his friends willingly. After many attempts to separate him from his friends with just words and hand motions, Steve brought out the lariat rope.
In textbook Cowboy Style, he landed his first loop around the colt's head and securely above his shoulders. Steve wrapped that rope around his own backside and sat on it. This horseman knew what he was doing. I was in awe of his bravery.
The colt thrashed and flailed…he reared up on his hind legs and let out a loud whinny but Steve never let up. He held the young horse with his bare hands, his body weight and his grit. The battle was alarming and I didn't know what to do.
I scurried through the fence again and grabbed the halter and lead rope, scampered back to rear of the horseman and awaited directions. I was winded, anxious and flat out scared.
Steve was completely in control, not a hitch in the action. I didn't want the colt injured but really didn't want the Cowboy hurt. My husband never broke concentration…never lost his grip…never raised his voice. After what seemed an hour, truly five minutes or so, the colt quit thrashing and succumbed to the providence of the horse trailer.
The Cowboy had taken the day and loaded the prize. After catching his breath and coiling up his lariat rope, I stood next to him ready for the curse words to flow and willing to accept the blame for the endeavor. My Cowboy simply made eye contact with the trailered colt and quietly uttered, "Slow Down, Wiley, you will have a more harmonious outcome.”
A well-stated fact.
One quick stop for a cold beverage and we were headed home with OUR new colt. Let me know if you want to come by and meet Wiley; he is wonderful.
Erin Stadelman is a rancher's wife and a devoted care- taker of children, grandchildren, horses and cows alike. She was awarded first place by the Colorado Press Association for most humorous columnist in 2016.