This month finds our family celebrating a wonderful birthday. It’s not the kids..not the grandkids..not the Cowboy…it’s Wiley’s first birthday.
Wiley is my colt. Steve bought him for me last July as a weanling (horse under the age of 1). We have had him at home since November. He is a joy to behold. I have never raised a horse from weanling. It is an experience I have always wanted to be a part of but never had the chance. I am loving every minute of it. He changes daily and his muscle structure is a wonder to look at. As Steve puts it, “he’s a well built son of a **tch.”
Wiley is the most beautiful shade of dark gold from the tip of his nose to the bottom of his legs. He is tall for his age. He is just slightly shorter than Wyatt’s horse, Danny (who is 24 years old). He’s going to be a very stout horse when he’s done. He carries a gorgeous flaxen mane that drapes over his neck like a fine silk scarf. He has just the slightest tinge of white on his face and chin. I love his color.
His tail should be a cascading ribbon of silky blonde too but thanks to Wyatt’s damn goats his tail is absent. Those two ridiculous Pygmy goats have taken turns chewing on Wiley’s tail while he naps. Wiley likes to nap during the day with his butt toward the goat pen. My sweet young horse has this sickly stump that exits his back side and droops down about eight inches. It is sad, very sad...stupid goats.
In the past few months, Wiley has developed quite the personality. He is all about the “flash.” He parades around the corral with his head held high, waving his beautiful mane in the sunshine. His strong, long legs glisten as his hooves prance around with great youth and vigor. When I step outside to check on him, he calls out to me with a gleeful whinny to make sure I am watching him. He loves to showboat. He loves to be the center of attention. He is quite the sight to see...until you get to the tail. It is sad, very sad...stupid goats.
Wiley spends his time with our barn cat and those two ridiculous goats because he is still too young to be introduced to the rest of the herd. The other horses spend time near the corral to keep an eye on the youngster. When they walk off to graze, he gets a little “put out” for the lack of audience.
I have watched the colt prance around the cat while she grooms herself in the sunshine. He dances around as if to say “look at me...I’m so pretty...look at me.” She acknowledges him with a wave of her tail as she moves on to hunt for the day.
He and the goats visit constantly. I am sure they are teaching him all he annoying things they know. I will have to train that out of him eventually. He flicks his nose into the air and kicks out with his hind legs. He is the picture of a perfect young horse until you see his tail. It is sad, very sad...stupid goats.
Steve does most of the feeding for Wiley. It’s their “time” together. I don’t want to ruin that. The Cowboy goes out every morning to deliver Wiley’s cereal and a flake or two of hay. Wiley’s cereal is a protein packed mix of grains to help ensure strong bones and healthy muscles...you know, “Wheaties” for horses.
I have watched the Cowboy when he feeds Wiley. It’s quite the show...Steve enters the corral and Wiley approaches at trot, circles around behind Steve and nudges him toward the “cereal” with his nose. It’s hilarious to watch. The colt bumps the Cowboy..the Cowboy pretends to stumble..the colt jumps backwards then bumps the Cowboy again. It’s a silly dance between the two but I enjoy watching it. They look great together until you see the tail. It is sad, very sad..stupid goats. It has been a wonderful journey just having Wiley on the ranch with us. I am proud to boast that we have 1 dog, 2 goats, 3 cats, 4 chickens, 5 horses and a glorious palomino colt to raise and train with the guidance of my Cowboy, the grace of the Rodeo Queen and the patience of One Chop Wyatt...once his tail grows out...stupid goats.
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 and 2017.