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Posted 2/10/15 (Tue)


I’ve written before about my experiences with a team of horses. I always wanted to be a teamster, but it usually ended in a wreck. Ben and Buck, the mules, ran off with me riding in the chariot, and tore down the corral gate, and wrecked a good harness. Coors and Coors Light ran off at a sale and wrecked a perfectly good crowd of Amish buyers. Thelma and Louise, another team of mules, would strike and kick at you when you tried to harness them. When I was trying to break in a new one, I teamed it up with Clyde, Lynn’s huge Clydesdale. Clyde was a prancer. I remember when I asked Lee Hanna if he wanted to get in the wagon with me, Lee replied, “I never trusted a prancer!” He was right. It was a real wreck.
The other night we were visiting and, as it often does, the talk turned to horses. Rope horses. Bucking horses. Saddle horses. And work horses.
Mike had a team he called Prince and Jenny.
The way he tells the story, Jenny was a good, steady horse. She would never make a bad step. Harness her up, hook up to the hayrack, and go to work.
Prince cheated you every chance he got. He would step off the trail into the deep snow. He would try to run off if a jackrabbit came out of the sagebrush. He would try to run off downhill, and slacked off on pulling when the pulling got tough. Now that I think of it they were a lot like Dean and Shirley.
Mike was feeding down along the river on the irrigated hay bottoms. He had a hayrack full of little square bales and was crossing an irrigation ditch. Something that had to be done slowly and carefully. Jenny bowed her neck and began easing across the ditch. Prince viewed this as an opportunity to lighten the load.
He suddenly bolted to the right putting everything askew! The sled slid cockeyed into the ditch and the bales tipped the wagon over. The horses were stuck in the ditch and Mike was thrown onto the bank.
This was too much for Mike. He had been fighting Prince all winter. The smoke was coming from under his Scotch cap as he trudged for home, leaving the horses, still harnessed and hooked to the sled. His only regret was that he didn’t have a rifle along to shoot Prince with.
As he walked into the house, his wife greeted him with a warm smile and a hot supper. She made the mistake of asking where Prince and Jenny were?
Mike said the no-good s.o.b. was in an irrigation ditch, hooked to the sleigh, and as far as he was concerned that worthless piece of dog food could spend the night there. In the morning, if he was still alive, he would unharness Jenny and shoot Prince.
Just as Mike was finishing supper, his wife called him to the window. By the door of the house, stood Prince and Jenny, waiting to be fed and put away for the night.
And they had loaded the hay back up!
Not really, I just made that last part up.