Welcome to my World

Welcome to the domain different--to paraphrase from New Mexico's capital city of Santa Fe which bills itself "The City Different." Perhaps this space is not completely unique but my world shapes what I write as well as many other facets of my life. The four Ds figure prominently but there are many other things as well. Here you will learn what makes me tick, what thrills and inspires me, experiences that impact my life and many other antidotes, vignettes and journal notes that set the paradigm for Dierdre O'Dare and her alter ego Gwynn Morgan and the fiction and poetry they write. I sell nothing here--just share with friends and others who may wander in. There will be pictures, poems, observations, rants on occasion and sometimes even jokes. Welcome to our world!

Friday, September 6, 2013

More equines

Back in the old days--you know the stories--we walked five miles to school in the snow, up hill both ways and so on. But my stories involve some outlaw mules and wild horses, a couple of old cowboys from whom I learned a great deal and about ten years of wonderful and terrible times with probably at least a hundred different horses, mules and burros (donkeys if you prefer) that passed through my life. Mainly my father and I, after he stopped being a school teacher, were in the process of starting a business to raise and train horses and mules, mostly for trail riding but also spreading out a bit into purebreds of Quarter Horse or Appaloosa bloodlines.

Such an operation takes time and money and a heck of a lot of work, even more if you are building on sweat equity. In the second half of that decade, dad's health, both physical and mental, began to decline with disastrous results especially on the financial end. In the end all was lost. It was heart breaking and having invested so much in the endeavor, I was devastated. I finally sold the last few horses myself after dad was in the hospital for an extended period and my mother and two younger brothers went to stay with relatives. But that is getting ahead of myself a bit.

Last horse post I made was about Tina, my beloved mare that was the first horse to be really mine. An old cowboy friend of ours, Charley Bryant was a connoisseur of cowponies and good working horses. He thought very highly of Tina which meant a lot to me. He had a horse called Stormy that was his paradigm and epitome of good horse but Tina was right in there with Stormy.

She was about eight before we bred her. By that time we had acquired a nice Appaloosa stallion named Yavapai Chief. We always suspected he had been stolen and was re-registered as his ancestry was not recorded. At that time a horse could be registered in the Appaloosa breed simply on having the color which he did--a nice chestnut with a blanket and the typical traits of white-rimmed eyes and one or more striped hooves. He also had a very odd brand that I could never trace although I wrote to the state brand offices all over the west. At any rate, we bred Tina with him and she produced two fine colts.

 To the left is a shot of me with Mr Bryant when I was about sixteen. He was a big man, around 6'2" or so and probably the finest cowboy-style horseman I ever knew  Then the next shot is of Yavapai Chief. I have a color shot of him but have not scanned it yet. He was a handsome horse but fairly tractable for a stallion and I rode him quite a bit once I had convinced my dad that I could!

Bravo, Tina's first foal, was almost the image of her. He arrived on March 18, 1964. The second colt, who I named Rico, was a sorrel like his sire but he had not acquired spots when he was sold as a long yearling late in 1966.. He did have the other appy traits though. He was born on my birthday in 1965, April 27. He was a big colt and I think she carried him a couple of weeks long. At any rate, he took a lot out of his mother. We nursed her along with blood worms, foaling fever and some other problems. She never really got her strength and health back and went to the Rainbow Bridge the next spring as I previously said. However both the colts went to a big working ranch in western Yavapai County and became find cow ponies. I was proud of them both but had wished for a filly to carry on with Tina's fine traits. But that was not to be and when things went down the loo, so to speak, I was glad not to have to lose such a mare. It would have finished breaking my heart!

And here are pictures of Bravo (left) and Rico (right)  when they were wee colts--there is nothing quite as precious as a new baby horse, all stilty legs and that little tail like a rumpled feather, still not straight from being curled up inside mom for some ten months as they grew. Tina was such a good mother but trusted me with her babies from the first day. Some mares are pretty spooky and even a bit mean but she never was. I can't wait to see her again there at the Rainbow Bridge pastures! Excuse the quality of the horse photos. They were taking with a little Kodak "Brownie" box camera, my first, and you could make no adjustments for the light etc. I still thank all the Powers that I have these to remember, though!

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