I was always in love with horses. I think most girls are.
My parents both had horses when they were growing up but I didn’t get my first horse until around age 10 (I THINK that is about how old I was). His name was Apache. He wasn’t a large horse but he was very pretty. If you remember the TV series, The Ponderosa, and you remember Little Joe’s horse, Apache was marked kind of like that horse. Even their names were somewhat similar; Little Joe’s horse was Cochise, mine was Apache…Indian related names.
My first ride on Apache was a wild ride. This was my first time alone, going off alone across the field on a horse…all by myself. And I was nervous. About ½ across the field, Apache took off, hell bent for leather. It was all I could do to hang on. We were headed for the woods, but just before the woods was an electrical fence. I don’t remember if I got him stopped or he stopped on his own. But I do remember I was in a panic! I didn’t know if I wanted to turn him around and head back towards the barn because I was afraid he’d take off like a ruptured duck again.
I remember my Dad running across the field towards us, encouraging me to do this, that and the other. I got Apache headed back and we were just about ½ ways back and Dad told me to make him stop. I stopped Apache and then HE decided he wanted to back up and back up he did. And he KEPT backing up and no amount of coaxing or clucking was going to make him go forward. The electrical fence was right behind us. Before WE got to that, Dad got to us.
Dad had me get off the horse and he said “If you want to back up, that’s what we are going to do!” He made Apache back all the way across the field…which didn’t do ME any good because by NOW, Apache had ME buffaloed….all within 10 minutes. He minded very well for Dad, but anytime I came near, he’d lay his ears back tight to his head and give me a dirty look. It didn’t matter if I had sugar in my hand or not. He did not like me.
I don’t remember how long we had Apache but I did have a couple of more horses. One was a beautiful palomino named Big Boy but my favorite was a little mare called Puddin’ Tame. She was Puddin’ for short. And she was marked similar to Apache. Puddin’ was a little sweet heart. I could do about anything with her and she LOVED to run. I even set some barrels up out in the field and away we would go. We figured she had been used for barrel racing because as soon as she felt your foot in the stirrup, she was ready to go. If you hopped on her bareback, she didn’t make a move till you asked her to.
There was a period of a couple of weeks that I didn’t dare ride Puddin’ due to a back injury (me, not her). I’d been roller skating, or attempting to anyway, and managed to fall square on my butt which hurt my tailbone and pride quite a bit. It was sore enough that I had to go to the Dr and get heat treatments on my back.
When the Dr finally said I could “resume normal activities”, I saddled Puddin’ and proceeded to put my foot in the stirrup. Little did I know at that moment, that my foot managed to get tangled up in the rope swing on the tree by where I was attempting to get on Puddin’. Puddin’ started out, thankfully at a walk. The next thing I knew I was stretched out like an arrow on a bowstring and Puddin’ was still going. My Mother was witnessing this from the kitchen window but couldn’t do anything to get there in time to help. I finally was stretched to the point that I had to let go of the saddle horn (and of course the rope around my ankle was stretched too). It flung me back like I had been on a bungee cord and I HIT the tree with a resounding THWACK!!
I had Puddin’ many years. She lived on even after I graduated from high school and on into my married years. I don’t know why it was that I wasn’t able to have her on the farm that my husband and I lived on but she stayed “at home”. She eventually got to the point that the vet had to come out and put her down. Dad had someone with a backhoe dig a hole and bury her. She was a good old gal and even though I haven’t thought about her in years, telling this story gives me a lump in my throat.
I even had a couple of more horses after Puddin’ but there was never another one like that little mare.
Were there any favorite horses in your life? Or favorite farm animals? (Don’t laugh, but I had a pet chicken too!! She would squat to be petted when you came up to her. She died of old age, right on the roost!)
- Cathy Clementz
- A long time ago, I was a child. (I started out as Cathy First from Colon, Mi.) For the past several years I’ve been an adult. A lot of things went on between those two stages of life; probably no more or no less than anyone elses. My husband and I moved to “da U .P” from southern Lower Michigan several years ago (yes we were trolls at one time). We owned and operated and operate Clementz’s Northcountry Campground and Cabins just north of Newberry, Michigan until May 2015. We have grown kids and grandkids (who all live downstate). My passion is life and all that Nature has to offer us and trying to photograph it in unique ways. Our intention in life is to see all that Nature has to offer us. We hope that you will be a part of our adventures as we cruise through our lives together. Come back often!