Of course living on a ranch we had horses and these were working horse. Working horses meant we had to shoe them. So I had been messing with horses since I was old enough to walk and riding before that, yea my mom would put a pillow in front of her on the saddle in front of her and we would head off to visit the neighbors back in the old days of yore.
So anyway I had been cleaning hooves for what seemed like forever. I learned and got started on a pony we had, he was about three forth’s the size of a horse and was called Champion, after Gene Autry’s horse. Anyway I would pick up his feet and hold it and clean away. He was good about it and liked to have his feet worked on. He would just stand there and let you work away. He would look back at you every so often to see if you were ok or at least that was what I thought he was doing. He was the same horse I learned to shoe on also. The prefect horse to learn on and for kids to ride, and even then he was tough as nails. I would jump on him and take off riding on the cows for a couple hours or more ever so often and he was as fresh when we got back as when we left.
H-bomb was a horse of a different sort when it came to shoeing; believe it or not he liked it. Yea I couldn’t believe it either, but it didn’t take long to figure out why.
It was time for a shoeing and I walked out to the corral and looked in and just about turned around and went back to the house for some more coffee. H-bomb was the only one in there and the only one left, all the rest were done. I looked him and he looked at me, each of us sizing the other one up. I kept looking at him and I wasn’t sure that he wasn’t dead on his feet I was just about ready to go push on him and see if he fell over but he finally blinked.
I sighed and entered the corral and got him caught and ready to shoe. He was just as charming as he could be; he did everything I needed him to do so I could shoe him. I got all my stuff out and ready and picked up his front foot and went to cleaning away. Amazingly I managed to do all his feet and he just stood there watching me. I finished and looked at him like I couldn’t believe it, this can’t be H-bomb.
I walked up and talked to him a minute bragging him up and scratching behind his ears, which he loved and got ready to finish up. I should have known something was up with him.
I picked up a front foot and got all situated to file and put the shoe on. Man it must be time for lunch or something; I can’t believe how heavy I feel, feeling weak in fact. I braced my legs and hunched my shoulders and continued for a minute. Good grief what is going on, I feel like I am holding the weight of the world on my shoulders. Then it hit me, I looked over my should and that rotten SOB was leaning, more like laying, on me like I was a leaning post. In other words I was holding this heavy buzzard up. I dropped his foot and jumped sideways out of the way and he was leaning so heavy on me that when I moved he actually fell down.
“That will teach you, you sorry excuse for a horse” I told him, “now get your butt back up and knock it off” as I grabbed the rope and got him back up.
I got him ready to go again and finished up the hoof and moved to the back one. At least with the back feet it is harder for him to do anything because of the way the leg is held. So the back two feet actually went fairly fast now on to the last one.
I picked up the front foot again and went to work; I was sweating away when he started feeling heavy again. I dropped that foot and jumped out of the way but he never fell over this time, I think I moved before he got totally relaxed. I walked over and slapped him in the belly and told him to knock it off. I picked up the foot again, same story. After what seemed like an hour on just that one foot I finally got him finished. The sweating was just a streaming off of me at that point.
I leaned against him for a minute and slipped the halter off of him and started to walk to the saddle shed. I had just taken about two steps when I felt him grab me by the back of my pants by my belt. I tried to turn around and I couldn’t and the next thing I know he had me picked up in his month , no matter how much I wiggled or squirmed I couldn’t get free, I was like worm on a hook.
In those days I was a skinny kid, now days he would have to use a crane, so he picked me up and took off walking. I was trying to see where he was going when I seen the water tank coming up. No, this can’t be happening, but it was. He walked up to it and dropped me right in, SPLASH.
I thought you sorry son of a gun, dirty rotten no good buzzard, you are history. But he just stood there looking at me like, ‘there you feel better?’ I had to admit it was hot and I was hot and the water did cool me off and felt good, after I got over the shock.
My mom walked out to see if I was finished and got to the corral just about the time that H-bomb dropped me in the tank. When I looked over at her she was having a good laugh.
“You should have seen yourself” she said, “You looked just like a worm wiggling around.”
The more I thought about it the funnier it got and I had to admit H-bomb had done me a good deed by cooling me off, but I couldn’t let him know that. He was winning more than I was and that was not in the game plan. I crawled out of the tank, patted him on the side of the neck and said “next time it is my turn.”
He looked at me shook his head a couple of times and turned around and high tailed it out to the pasture through the gate that mom had opened. I just shook my head, I was actually starting to like that cuss.