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COLUMN: Yahoo! Ride ’em, cowboy

J.A. Bolton

All my life I’ve liked animals, small or large, didn’t make no difference. Being raised on an old farm, we would go through a lot of mules, cows and horses.

You see, buying and selling horses has been going on just about ever since man rode or worked the first horses. Why, it seems like people get the fever to get in or out of the horse business real quicklike, although everybody ought to experience owning a horse sometime in their life.

Back when I was selling and trading horses there were two local sale barns. On Monday nights, one sale would be held in Bennettsville South Carolina. On Tuesday nights there would be a sale in Siler City. The one in Bennettsville would last way on up into the night because they would sell horse tack first. Why, sometimes it would be early in the morning when we’d get home. That’s why my friends and I would alternate weeks going to a sale.

I can remember one Tuesday evening, we headed up to Siler City to try and find a good little riding horse for my wife. Sometimes you could filter through the horse flesh and come up with a right good horse at these sales. We’d always be pulling our horse trailer just in case we ran up on a good deal.

As usual, the pen hookers (as we call them) would be waiting at the entrance of the sale barn to see if’n they could buy a horse before it was run through the sale. These were speculators that were looking for a steal in a horse so they could make a few bucks on the deal.

Well, we didn’t have anything for them that night, but told them we were looking for a small well-trained horse that a lady could ride.

We went on to the barn and checked the horse stalls to see if there was a horse that we thought we might be interested in, but we didn’t see much that would fit the bill.

We had just started into the auction arena when one of the fellows at the gate motioned for us to step outside. He told us there was a fellow who’d just pulled in with a horse we might be interested in. Here we go, wanting to check out the horse. Sure enough, this here short, bowlegged cowboy that we had never seen before was just unloading a nice little black mare from his trailer. 


The little horse was about the right size we were looking for. I asked the fellow if’n she was a gentle horse and a smooth rider. “Why sure she is. I’d put my own grandson up on this here horse. You just take her for a spin,” was his reply. Several of us rode the horse and, sure enough, she seemed like a right nice horse.  

Next, was the price right. He said he would take $150 for the horse and throw in the bridle and saddle to boot. Won’t gonna take a penny less, no siree.

To make a long story short, I bought the little horse that night, brought her to Richmond County, and left her in my friend’s barn. She seemed mighty calm for a horse with all new surroundings. 

The next Saturday, several of my riding buddies and some spectators gathered at the barn to try out Black Beauty, as we had named her. My buddy that had been keeping the horse said that she had been getting a little wilder and her eyes getting redder by the day. Why, it took three of us just to get the saddle on the horse. Won’t the same horse I had bought. Who would be the first to ride this wild thing?

Before we got through trying to ride that little horse, she had thrown all riders over her head, dislocated a couple of shoulders, cracked a few backs, a few of us had lumps on our heads, and a few had missing teeth.

Won’t no doubt, the horse had been drugged before I bought her. I ended up selling her to a rodeo clown and be John Brown if’n she didn’t make the best bucking bronc that he’d ever seen. 

By the way, you know, I never did run across that lying bowlegged cowboy who done and sold me that little black devil of a horse! Why, some say he must have left the country.

J.A. Bolton is author of “Just Passing Time,” co-author of “Just Passing Time Together,” and just released his new book “Southern Fried: Down-Home Stories,” all of which can be purchased on Amazon. Contact him at ja@jabolton.com.



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