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Cowboys, Shiners & Quarter Horse Bars

Posted by Head Wrangler, 15 June 2012 · 643 views

I ride horses for a living ~ which makes for all kinds of interesting adventures. Like the day I was cantering Abby, a big, dappled buckskin QH mare, across a freshly-mown field, and she spotted a small sink-hole in the soil that hadn’t been visible yesterday, due to the tall grass. Well sir, to Abby that small hole must’ve looked just like the back door to ****, ‘cuz she sure locked up the binders! Which I was not really expecting, so it had the unfortunate result of throwin’ me to the left of center in my saddle ~ and naturally Abby, being a horse and a ‘flight’ animal, chose that exact moment to cut hard right, whereupon I executed an unplanned emergency dismount and a perfect ‘one-point’ landing ~ on my right eyebrow! Trying to hold onto the reins during my fall just resulted in some nice leather burns across 3 fingers of my left hand, as she lit out for the barn like her tail was on fire….

As I regained my feet and took stock of the situation, I realized that even though I wasn’t feeling any pain in my right eye, I did not seem to have any sight in it, either! Then, as I began to gather my wits and limp after my horse, I wiped the back of my hand across the eye and, lo and behold, as the blood was cleared away, I regained my sight!

Well, without boring you with all the trifling details, suffice it to say that I ended up with a beauty of a black eye (along with blue & purple, and yellow & magenta) that lasted for a good 2 weeks. The best part of the story was that immediately following my ride, I had a pulmonary function test scheduled at the local hospital, so while I was performing all of the breathing tests for the technician, I was busily wiping away blood & trying to hold a cold compress to my eye at the same time!

One of my other side-lines, along with exercising horses (kind of an off-shoot of it, I guess you could say), is the buying, selling and swapping of saddles & tack. In this line of work (horseback riding), ya just naturally run into a lot of folks who are lookin’ for a different saddle ~ either a better one, a bigger one, a rig that fits their new horse better, or one that’s designed for a different sport. For instance, they may own a square-skirted roping saddle, but they’re now getting into barrel racing. So they want to trade the heavier rig for a lightweight, rounded skirt barrel saddle, to better suit their needs. That’s where I come in, by having 6 or 8 good, gently-used saddles on hand at any given time, so that I can (with any luck at all) have just what a person needs, right in stock & readily available to them. Then, we get down to the fun part, which is trying to make a trade in which each party comes away feeling that they got the better end of the deal!

Sometimes, a horse owner will purchase a saddle for their young horse, and a rig with semi quarter horse bars will work just fine. Then, after a few more years, when the horse has finished growing, & “fleshes out” a bit more, they’ll discover that they need to swap their saddle for one with full quarter horse bars. So, I have a steady flow of people looking to buy, sell or trade saddles…. There was even one lady who was under the impression that ‘quarter horse bars’ were places where cowboys hung out on their day off, shootin’ pool & downing a few cold ones! I’m gonna keep that little ‘chestnut’ on the back burner; when I get too old and stove-up to straddle a horse, I might decide to open a beer joint ~ and I may just capitalize on that lady’s misconception when it comes time to put a name on my tavern!!

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