Old Sally

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horse

The first time I saw Sally, she was barely three years old. Her nose was snubbed tight to a post. She was shivering from the cold.

“She isn’t mean, just not too bright.” That’s what her owner said. Her gut was ganted up. The horse was needing to be fed.

She hopped up in the trailer and didn’t even balk. The little mare just needed someone with an easy talk.

We fed our filly grain and hay. I watched her fill out fast. I wondered how much animals remember of their past.

My father named her Sally. Said, “I guess I’m not sure why.” I wonder if he knew someone who seemed to be that shy.

Well, Sally fit right in and didn’t cause us any fuss. I sure was glad she had a home away from that old cuss.

Some horses require extra work to get them fit to ride. But Sally was a natural. She had a perfect stride.

We rode our Sally every day. Hers was a household name. My kids would ride three at a time, ‘cuz Sally was so tame.

One day my younger children didn’t cinch the saddle tight. It slipped down underneath the horse. But the kids showed little fright.

‘Cuz they knew their Sally wouldn’t move or even step at all. My kids climbed out from underneath. Good thing she wasn’t tall.

As years went by, each child of ours grew up and left the fold. Old Sally, we all called her then, now twenty-two years old.

I didn’t have the time to ride Old Sally every day. So, she’d whinny, and she’d whimper, kinda sad in her own way.

Old Sally must have felt alone. The years flew by too fast. Maybe horses do remember a little of their past.

When our kids come home to visit, they bring children of their own. And all those grandkids tell me, “She’s the best horse ever known.”

They ride her every day until they’ve said all their goodbyes. Old Sally really loves our kids. I see it in her eyes.

Will Sally be around much longer? None of us can say. But this will always be her home until her dying day.

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Bryce Angell’s father was an outfitter and guide for 35 years, and Bryce was there to shoe and care for the horses and help him do the cooking. Bryce is from Idaho and still rides into the Tetons, Yellowstone and surrounding areas. His poems are mostly of personal experience.

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