Weekly Posting of the Conservative Cow Doctor


Cow Doctor Gift Giving: Take Three

My oldest granddaughter, Clara, helped trail cattle to the mountains the last two summers and she is hooked on cowboy life.  She wants to follow my footsteps to vet school before owning a ranch and she is driven and smart enough to get it done.  Clara is 14. 

A year ago, Clara became the owner of a gift horse, a 15-year-old Arab mare named Lacy, who had a love/hate relationship with her previous owner.  Mostly hate, so I took the mare to the Breaks for test ride elk hunting.  Lacy was tolerable for three days, but the fourth revealed her evil underbelly.  While riding along a ridge, Lacy bowed her neck, chomped the bit and crow-hopped while galloping across the plateau, stopping only after I crashed her into a corner brace.  She had two more fits that morning, with the third on top of a 200-foot clay bank overlooking the Missouri River.  If Lacy was willing to tumble us both to the water below, she shouldn’t be carrying my grandkids, so in June, Lacy moved to France.  Since then, Clara has been saving money for a real horse.   

For her 14th birthday Clara requested a family weekend riding horses. Although, it doesn’t take much of an equine athlete to pack my mini-Kimmels, my cavy is aging and I have pondered whether I should buy in, or sell out of the horse business.  Because my heart is bigger than my brain, I crafted a plan to buy myself a new horse, but birthday gift it to Clara for year-round feed and care.  Clearly a win-win. 

At dinner Friday night, I told Clara she needed her Muck Boots and slicker for an all-day appointment starting Saturday morning.  She looked confused, so I tossed her the BLS Horse Sale Catalogue wrapped in a ribbon and bow.  She glanced at the cover and tears streamed down her cheeks.  Saturday morning, we hit the sale where we bid for five hours before scoring a nice seven-year-old paint gelding.  I planned to take him to hunting camp and should he pass muster, he would winter at Clara’s in Great Falls.   

Sunday morning, I saddled up and circled through the pasture before swapping horses with Clara.  By Sunday afternoon, she was loping the paint through the hills bareback, so my ingenious scheme backfired as I owned my new horse less than 24 hours.  It wasn’t a total loss, as I learned a birthday horse scores far above dog collars and blenders, which is a tidbit worth remembering.            



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