I just learned that it’s National Horse Day so I have to share a story about that beautiful steed and a day when he made me look good. — Not that he’s only made me look good once, but I’m only sharing the one story. Can you imagine the stories he has to tell?

Of course, I’ll begin with “we were on an elk hunt” rather than, “once upon a time” because — well, you know.

We were on an elk hunt in New Mexico and my friend Eddie and I were guiding one hunter as Hank guided another. Both Eddie’s and my horse are named Cowboy, but his boy is black and mine is a red dun. We’d had many close encounters with elk that day but never got in position for a good shot on a good elk.

We received a message from Hank. His hunter had shot an elk so we’d need to head his direction as I had the pack horses. With the sun on its downward decent we mounted up and headed his way. When we got to his location we found that he already had the elk field dressed and ready to be loaded up. 

Eddie and I ground tied our Cowboys and led the pack horses to the meat. If you aren’t familiar with the term, “ground tie,” that means we dropped our reins on the ground; the horses were not tied to anything. It’s a term adopted by those who have good horses that don’t run off. You simply drop the reins and the horse will wait as though he’s tied.

Darkness overtook the valley and we hoisted the meat into the paniers and lashed the head and antlers atop one of the loads. We helped the hunters onto their horses and from atop his horse Hank held the lead rope of the pack string.

“Alright. We’re ready to go.” Eddie said as he and I looked blankly at one another. We shined our headlamps in the direction that we’d ground tied them — The Cowboys were nowhere to be seen. Of course, you can imagine a bad word or two came from Eddie’s mouth, “Well, what are we going to do now?”  

I giggled. We’d been bragging all day about whose Cowboy is better. “HAH!” I blurted out. “My Cowboy is a phenomenal horse, Eddie. He’ll be right here, and I’ll go get your rotten horse.” I whistled.

Then I waited.

A mighty fine red dun horse emerged from the darkness and “Holy $h..!” came from my friend’s mouth. I jumped on my horse and rode up the valley a few hundred yards to retrieve the black Cowboy, then handed his rein to my friend who stood there in awe.

We rode out in the darkness, and I quietly patted the neck of my horse, thanking him for making me look good that night. Heck! He made himself look good too! A day or two later I fessed up to Eddie. Although he’s usually pretty easy for me to catch, that’s the first time my Cowboy acted like the horse of the Lone Ranger and appeared at the sound of my whistle. 

Is there a lesson to be learned here? Of course!

Have faith that someone, or something, will do its job and make you look good.

Micromanagement isn’t always required.

If you trust in someone or something, they’ll trust in you too.

Mia Anstine

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1 Comment

  1. great story and one to make you proud.


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