Today I saw something on Facebook that could possibly give me nightmares. No, not the abused puppy pictures. (Damn, why do people post those things without warning?) Anyway, what I saw was this (sorry, it wouldn't embed,you'll have to pop over to their page to watch it):
Her name was Betsy. She was a Roan Hancock mare, only fourteen hands tall (that's small, for you non-horse people) and had an attitude the size of King Kong. Some people we knew in southern Alberta had bought and trained her as a jumping horse for a junior competitor. She could clear five feet, but was too much for a kid to handle.
The one thing you could say about Betsy...she never bucked. She didn't need to. She could inflict all the damage she wanted before you ever got off the ground. You couldn't catch her, and if you tried to corner her she'd run you down. Once you did get a halter on her, she'd either drag you, step on you, or knock you cross-eyed with the side of her head. And to top it all off, she had a mouth like a rock, and wasn't above grabbing the bit between her teeth and taking off with or without you.
She was also, pound for pound, the best rope horse we've ever owned. She could fly and she had a killer stop. All you had to do was nod your head and rope. Betsy took care of the rest.
And because she was so athletic, we couldn't resist training her to run barrels.
May I say, I've done things that were more frightening than the time I ran Betsy in the big Choteau arena, but I'll have to think for a bit to remember any of them. Her finest moment, though, happened at a jackpot up in Alberta, with my sister Lola aboard.
The fence around the arena was woven wire topped by a wooden rail. I have no recollection what kind of run they made. They flew home from the third barrel and Lola pulled up at the scoreline. Instead of slowing and circling, Betsy ran straight up to the fence, planted and launched.
She would've cleared it, too, if she hadn't clipped that one hind leg on the top pole.
I can totally see Betsy in the competition in the video I posted. She would have either blown all their doors off, or it would have been a complete runaway with four or five laps at full speed around the arena and then she would've lawn-darted me into the water hazard. Either way, those people in the crowd would have remembered her.
I guarantee, none of the people who knew her will ever forget.
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