My foray into horse ownership

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By Ada Lang

For the record, I have always been a sucker for the under dog. Or
maybe I should say, the under canary......and
now, the under horse. Plus, I hate bullies.

Exhibit A: The collie I saw on the side of I-85, a multilane
highway near Charlotte. It was getting dark. I had a
three hour drive ahead of me. When I saw her, I went to the
next exit, turned around and made my way back. She was
eating roadkill but I lured her into my car with a 3-year-old
granola bar I found in the glove box. She slept all the way
home. She thanked me for saving her a few days later by presenting
me with five puppies.

Exhibit B: When I was a youngster, we went to a canary
store. Yes, in Spain, they have canary stores. I spotted the
forlorn little canary sitting on the floor of the cage. I had to
have THAT one. We took it home and within hours he
turned out to be 1) a she, 2) not so much the forlorn little
canary and 3) in fact, quite the little canary trollop.

Exhibit C: When I lived in North Carolina, I looked out
my dining room window one day and saw a group of kids
walking standing out in the street. One boy kept knocking
another boy’s books out of his arms and onto the ground.
Papers flying everywhere. When he would gather his things
and stand back up, the bully would knock them down again.
I ran out of the house yelling. I helped the boy gather his
things and asked the bully if he would like me to do the same
to his books? No? Good. I warned him that if I saw anything
like that again, I’d follow him home and tell his parents.
After that, no more problems. Sweet waves from the rescued
boy and his little sister every afternoon.

Greg says this should have all been a warning to him.
But, it is too late now.

So, it came as no surprise that when some tenants we had
at our trailer in Chiefland were traveling a lot for work, I
offered to help take care of Bill, the horse. Roxanne was
afraid of horses but she had bought him because his previous
owner was pregnant and not riding any longer. She kept him
as a companion because her boyfriend was gone a lot. Plus
the dog she rescued - Snoopy.

When money got worse and they had to move out, I had
been taking care of Bill on a regular basis. We agreed that I
would take him, on the condition that if I ever didn’t want
him again, I would give him back to Roxanne. Bill is about
12 years old, a QuarterHorse/Thoroughbred mix and super
mellow. A great horse for a novice like me. Up until then, I
had spent maybe six hours in a saddle over my entire 49 years.

So, I moved Bill to Cypress Station where he lazed
around with Thunder, the pony and Isabella, the goat. He
never wanted to leave them to ride because they would cry
when I took him out. One of the visiting grandkids started
calling him Gillbert. When Thunder and Isabella went back
to their original owner, I moved Bill to another place where
he gets to see other horses more regularly and there is easy
access to riding trails.

Now, his feet and coat are looking great. He stuffs his
face with grass all day and with sweet feed, alfalfa, carrots
and peppermint candies all night. He lets me clean his feet
and put stuff on the soles to make them less tender, so he
won’t stumble. I scored the deal-of-the-century on a used
saddle at a tack yard sale but he is such a sweet horse that
you can ride him bareback and without a bit - just a rope halter.

When I haven’t spent enough quality time with him, he
shows his displeasure by turning away from me and not letting
me pet him. After he has made that point, he then sticks
his face in my face, so I will be forced to kiss him on his nose
and rub his chin. I’m usually sitting in a chair when that happens.
Reading a book with one hand and rubbing his chin
with another as he stand towering over me until he decides
he has had enough.

So, there you go. My latest underdog. The 1,000 pound
horse that I renamed BillBert. So, if were wondering why my
Mini-Cooper smells like manure and has hay stuck in the
carpet, now you know.

Ada Lang is staff reporter for the Cedar Key Beacon and can be contacted at 352-493-4796 or news@cedarkeybeacon.com.