I spent the weekend with my Dad while he visited in Austin. While this was fun for me, it didn’t leave much time for the barn. It did however remind me of a story y’all might enjoy. If you asked either of my parents, they would say they had no idea where I got my love for horses from since neither of them are enthusiasts. Even though this is true, it’s not 100% accurate. Long before I was born, there was a palomino Quarter Horse in the family… and this is the story of that horse.
The best way to sum up my grandfather is to shake your head, smile and say he was a character. Though there are many humorous eccentricities about this man I could share with you, we’ll focus today on the time he traded a shot gun for a horse. I personally have always felt this was a really good trade, but my grandmother was not convinced. Possibly because they didn’t live on a farm as you might think, but instead in a suburb neighborhood on around an acre or so lot.
My dad and his siblings walked home from the bus stop one day after school to find a horse tied to their carport. There was no explanation or desire for said horse, only that I’m sure a substantial amount of alcohol was involved in the decision making process.
Now if I came home from school to find a horse tied to my house in anyway, I would have been ecstatic. My father and his siblings… not so much. That probably had something to do with the fact that my grandfather had them creating fencing for the horse that following weekend (a horse can’t be expected to be tied to a carport forever of course). My dad will tell you that the fencing they came up with was basically rolling out barbed wire and nailing it to perimeter trees in the yard. In the yard in the suburbs, let me remind you.
I don’t know much about said horse, only that he was described to me as “looking just like Trigger.” My dad and his siblings weren’t all that enthused by the creature, probably from the oh-so-fun barbed wire work and the fact that my grandfather brought them home a sidesaddle so they could ride the creature. Of course my dad and his brother said “No thanks” to that.
The one incident where my dad did do some serious riding on Trigger 2 was completely by accident. My dad was sitting on the horse bareback in the front yard, and Trigger 2 grazed on the lawn while tied to the tree. Basically, he was being a horse couch… and we all know how relaxing that can be! It was relaxing too, until Trigger 2 got stung by a bee.
And Trigger 2 did not like that. He took off galloping… down the driveway… of the neighborhood.
My dad said he was eight years old at the time, and was basically hanging on for dear life clinging to what I imagine was a long unkempt mane. So Trigger is galloping down a paved road, lead rope flapping in the breeze, and my dad is most likely about to bite it.
Along comes my grandfather chasing them both down in the pickup truck. I’m sure the story realistically ends with Trigger 2 getting tired, slowing down and my grandfather being able to jump out and grab the leadrope… but I picture him pulling my dad off the horse in a dead gallop and saving him through an open window of a 60’s pickup. You can choose your favorite version 🙂
Not too much long after the incident, the family decided that a suburban neighborhood maybe wasn’t the best place for a Quarter Horse. Trigger 2 was donated to a Christian summer camp in the North Carolina mountains (the same summer camp I attended years later) and lived several years there happily. They called for an update, and he had gotten in a pasture accident and had to be put down to lameness… which is sad, but still a pretty epic little story for a horse that was acquired through a shotgun trade.