The buckin’ dapple gray


My father pointed to the corral. “You see that dapple gray? I’d like it if you’d put

a saddle on his back today.”

The dapple gray sure weren’t a looker. Horse face rings a bell. He’d never had a

curry comb as far as I could tell.

And the look that he was giving me was more than just a stare. His cold, black

devil eyes were warning, “Cowboy you beware.

“You ain’t the first to take a chance so go ahead and try. You throw a saddle on

my back, and you’ll be flying high.”

I queried. “Where’d you get the horse? He’s ugly as can be. Has he ever worn a

saddle? And if no, he’s not for me.”

My father said, “I’m not too sure, but just you never mind. I’ve got a feeling ’bout

this horse. I’d say he’s one good find!”

I slipped on his old hackamore with reins tied in a knot. The first part came too

easy. But for sure I had him caught.

I brushed him down then placed a saddlepad upon his back. His eyes were

getting bigger. He was planning his attack.

I put the saddle on the pad and moved it up a bit. Then pulled the cinch up to his

gut. That’s when he threw a fit!

He jumped straight up, dang near six feet, then came down buckin’ strong. I

never knew an ornery cuss could kick and buck so long.

The fightin’, stinkin’ piece of crowbait paused to look around. Then jumped back

into buckin’. He was sure enough Hellbound.

He finally stopped and stared at me, still snortin’, blowin’ snot. I reached and

pulled the saddle off. Another lesson taught.

I asked my father, “What’d you pay?” He said, “I got him free.” I said, “For him

that’s still too much if it were up to me!”

He said, “I knew that horse was trouble. Now he’s proved me right. Too bad he’s

not a keeper. He sure put up one good fight.”

I guess I kind of chuckled ’bout my father’s change of heart. He usually had good

horse sense but was wrong right from the start.

And I’m not so sure what happed to the ornery dapple gray. Do horses buck in

Hades? Bet that’s where he went to stay.


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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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