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
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
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
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
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
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.