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RailroadWoman

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7 hours ago, Heidi n Q said:

I'd love to hear the story!

In other news, last week we had temps in the high teens for overnight and low 30s for day.  Both of my Rockies have started SHEDDING.  0.o

I hope your Rockies know something we don't know!

Our forecast has changed and now it's supposed to sleet and snow tomorrow, with a steep drop in temps tonight. I blanketed Jubal at 6:00 when it was 55 degrees! Poor horse.

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I know, I hope it means we'll have a warm/early Spring!  But maybe they are doing what LCs do....I'll keep an eye on them.  And not wear ChapStick to the barn!

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  My horses arn't shedding yet, but some years they start in February.   Our day started in the upper 30s with light rain, by 10AM it was sleet & by noon it was in the teens for temps & snowing. We got about 2-3 inches of it. Most snow we've had so far. High for tomorrow is 11 degrees, & sunny.  PD

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16 hours ago, Heidi n Q said:

I'd love to hear the story!

He was a six year old boy living on a ranch in Wyoming at the turn of the last century (Harold died in the 1980s when he was in his 90s, I knew him when he was quite old and I was a kid). 

To explain that fully, I have to tell you another of his stories:

His dad raised horses for the US Army (remounts- bay thoroughbred stallions turned out with mustangs in the Rock Springs area- their descendents are still larger mustangs with more solid colors).  Their ranch was very remote and they depended on their horses to resupply and check on the mustangs.  Every year, his dad and some hired hands would round up the mustangs and pick out any that met the requirements.  They had to be 16 hands and bay.  The chosen horses were gathered in a corral and the rest of the herd was turned loose again, sometimes with a fresh, tall stallion.  The horses were driven to Cheyenne to sell to the US Army.  The had to have been ridden before they got to the sale, so when Harold was old enough to go, he and his buddies would pick mounts for each to buck out every night along the trail.  By the time they got to Cheyenne, all the horses had saddle marks (and all the cowboys were sore, lol!).  Harold used to laugh and say he had no idea how those soldiers stayed with those little "pancake" saddles they had!   

So, back to the six year old Harold.  He had a pony of his own, but he rode bareback.  His dad told him he could have a saddle when he was big enough to saddle his pony himself so he rode bareback until he was around 8 or 9.  Little Harold came in for dinner one night and his dad asked him, as they sat down to eat, if he had fed his pony.  He said he hadn't but he would right after dinner.  His dad told him, "No, you'll feed your pony now".  Harold went out to the barn and fed his pony and came back inside.  His dad told him to go straight to bed without dinner to emphasize how important it was to care for your livestock first.  He said he never forgot to feed his pony again!

Edited by little cow

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The lesson really imprinted.  I bet he was full of wonderful stories and filled your ears with plenty.  When I was a kid and too small to saddle, I also rode bareback.  Found I preferred it and didn't start riding with a saddle until my late 20s. 
When I was in my early teens I found a horse-mentor neighbor who grew up near an Indian Reservation in Oklahoma.  He was a self-proclaimed Okie through-and-through but I found his knowledge and common sense stories to be beneficial learning devices.

I learned the lesson of livestock care indirectly when I was about 10yrs old.  My stepdad always took care of the livestock and when he abruptly left, there was no one to care for them - Mom was raised in NYC and while she liked the animals, she was afraid of them and their size.  I remember stepping up to take care of the stock and feeling outraged that he just up and left them (no thought for us, just the livestock).  They were fenced in and couldn't get their own water or feed.  So in my righteous indignation, I took up the yoke of feeding and caring for the stock and have been doing so ever since.

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That's a big responsibility for a ten-year-old, Heidi. Did  you already know how to care for them?

We were given a pony when I was small that was so fat, we couldn't fit a saddle on her. The saddle maker made what was probably the first ever bareback pad. It was big and square the size of  a western saddle blanket, made of cotton duck (I think) and padded with some kind of fibers. It had a regular girth and stirrups. I used that pad up until teen years, though usually without the stirrups.

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LC, Enjoyed your story, along with the lesson it taught,  We lived on a dairy farm when I got my first horse, during winter months, I probably ate supper before I feed my horse, that was only because we milked the cows after our supper, & then we tucked everything into bed before we returned to house for the evening.  PD

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I should mention a few things regarding Harold's stories.  Mustangs were a mix of feral horses and could be used by ranchers as a free resource.  Of course, Harold's dad mainly ran cattle, but the remount project was to fill a need.  Many ranches in the area participated and all of the young cowboys worked together to prepare the animals and drive them to CHeyenne.  I don't know if they had to be gelded, but I imagine so because they were loaded on trains to ship East. 

When Harold was a young teen, they were gathering as many animals as they could for WWI (he was too young to fight in the war).  So, how would TB stallions compete with native mustangs?  Well, that's the other thing.  "Thoroughbreds" back then were a type; not papered.  So they could be tough, tall horses that were raised on ranches.  There were dirt tracks back then for racing and anything that could run was entered.  Nothing like the TBs we think of now.  Also, to help the TB stallions, the native stallions were round up or shot.  Sad, but true.  Oh, he said the horses could also be black.  I don't know about chestnuts.  I imagine once it really got going, they would send what they had.  

Our country supplied over one million horses during WWI.  We sent many over for use by our Allies before we joined in the fight. 

My great grandpa fought in WWI.  He saw some of the worst of it and rose to the rank of SGT.  Earned a lot of medals.  After he returned, he had shell shock and bounced around from job to job.  Eventually, he ended up raising racing QHs up in Oregon.  I have some neat pictures of him.  He died before I was born, but when I bought my first horse, and finally got her papers, I found out her great grandsire had been owned by my great grandfather for awhile.  That was an amazing coincidence.  

Here is a neat article about animals used during WWI.  Some of the horses could have come from Wyoming.

https://www.theatlantic.com/photo/2014/04/world-war-i-in-photos-animals-at-war/507320/

Edited by little cow

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5 hours ago, jubal said:

That's a big responsibility for a ten-year-old, Heidi. Did  you already know how to care for them?

I did.  I shadowed everything he did with the livestock because I was so interested.  After he left, I read everything I could get my hands on and was a member of 4-H.

I recently read a junior book about Sgt. Reckless from the Korean War.  

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Oh, not that many, we were only on 5acres.  We had 5 AKC rough coated Collies, two horses and a pony.  Three beef cattle and four hogs for butchering.  Maybe 20 chickens and ducks.  I remember having to unload Mom's car after a feed store run by myself.  It was usually around 600# of feed to be taken to the feed room and put in the cans.  Flat tire on the wheelbarrow so I remember carrying each individual bag.  My poor legs were staggering at the end!  Luckily hay was brought in on a hydraulic bale stacking truck and it just tilted up and set it where we wanted it.

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Good for you for stepping up, Heidi!  That could have become a horrible traumatic event, if you didn't know what to do.  It was a hard, cruel thing to do.  Do you still have a relationship with your dad?  What is his attitude about how you stepped in to do his job?

Recently, our 9 year old son has been able to do evening chores by himself on occasion.  It is a big responsibility and he takes it seriously.  In a controlled environment, with help immediately available, it's a great way for kids to grow and feel more responsible.  He enjoys being trusted, but I am careful not to ask him very often, and only when the chores are quick and easy.  

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7 hours ago, Heidi n Q said:

Oh, not that many, we were only on 5acres.  We had 5 AKC rough coated Collies, two horses and a pony.  Three beef cattle and four hogs for butchering.  Maybe 20 chickens and ducks.  I remember having to unload Mom's car after a feed store run by myself.  It was usually around 600# of feed to be taken to the feed room and put in the cans.  Flat tire on the wheelbarrow so I remember carrying each individual bag.  My poor legs were staggering at the end!  Luckily hay was brought in on a hydraulic bale stacking truck and it just tilted up and set it where we wanted it.

Remarkable!

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After he left we had no contact with him at all.  I don't even think Mom saw him again, even for finalizing the divorce.  I saw him the day he left.  My sister and I had walked home from school (3rd and 5th grades) and his truck was in the driveway, which was highly unusual.  When I went upstairs, he was in the master bedroom and when I asked why he was home so early, he turned from the bureau and told me he "forgot his handkerchief" which he had in his hand when he turned around.  I continued with my after-school routine and never saw him again.

Interesting story: 
Of course Mom was devastated when he left and she hired an investigator.  The PI found that step-dad had been having an affair with a woman and had also learned that woman had previously been seeing another man, either prior to, or at the same time, as she was seeing step-dad - I'm not sure.  Mom met with that man (Bill) to find out more about the other woman.  She and Bill hit it off and a few months later started dating.  After a couple years, they got married.  Prior to their marriage, Mom started working with Bill at his business and helped it improve, soon becoming a partner in his business.  They were good together.  They went on trips, nice vacations, cruises, remodeled most of the downstairs and made a good home for my sister and I.  Bill was a good man and I am glad he is the Something Good that came out of the breakup of Mom's marriage to step-dad.
Mom later learned step-dad married that woman and both became alcoholics.  

I appreciate growing up with that much responsibility regarding the animal care.  I liked taking care of them, it was a point-of-pride and it has never been a 'chore' for me.  Well, maybe on cold, windy, rainy mornings!  I think my indignation at him up and leaving them sparked me to be faithful to the animals' needs.  I also think it was very good for me to have that much responsibility so young.  I think I would have benefited from having someone knowledgeable overseeing my work but I (luckily) made no devastating errors and learned quickly as I went.

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Heidi,  Got to compilment you for taking a negative situation & turning it into a positive one.  But animals can be great healing agents, & I'm sure so much responsibility, so young gave you no time to feel sorry for yourself. I guess one could say the step dad that left, gave you another over time, that you could look up to. All children need that, doesn't have to be blood, just love.   Best Wishes.  PD

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