Farm Tales

Horse of Different Color

Meet Augustus McCray:

Gus’s story began for us in 2010 when I purchased him as a five year old, I looked at and rode a few  horses before him but I decided to purchase him and I will admit he was a sympathy buy. He was five and looked like a yearling narrow in the chest and hip, in fact when I got him home one of my neighbors said, “Looks like you got a project” well not exactly . Gus was broke to ride green but he had seen some things, water, cows, and trail rides.  The “horse trainer” I purchased him from kept him in with another horse and the other horse was the dominant one so she got most of the feed he was pretty slim I wouldn’t say starved I would say lacking of everything he needed to grow and fill out.  Standing just at 14.2 hands, and less than a thousand pounds he was a little guy but he had a good size frame and I figured with some TLC he’d grow and fill out.

I purchased him in June bringing him up from the valley, it was still cold in our country so the poor guy had to wear a blanket, because he had no body fat to keep him warm. That’s something else he had to endure at his old home, no shelter from down pouring rain storms, all that changed when we got him to his new home.

He started to gain weight and fill out some, but he didn’t grow much making us wonder If he had been stunted do to his lack of care. He’s attitude changed  as he started to feel better he became the dominant one, we rode him, he was gentle on the ground and in the saddle but he was a tester one day he decided when I went to put the halter on him he’d bite me, lucky for me I was paying attention otherwise he probably wouldn’t be with us today.

Natural Horsemanship helped Gus get over his “I’m the boss” issues, because he know’s I’m the boss lady now. Horse’s first beginnings in life sure make or break a horse so to speak, you see I had another encounter with that “Horse Trainer” when I was looking for a horse a year or so ago for my grand daughter to learn on.  I traveled down to the valley again to try out a certain breed of horse “Haflinger”.

I went to a farm that raised them, and I was very much interested in this one mare until I went with the owner to get the mare out of the pasture. Back bone showing, thin and she just looked wore out, I was a little confused because all the other horses on the place looked in really good shape. So I made a comment about her condition, and how I wasn’t going to ride her in that shape. I was informed she had just come back from the “trainer” who was giving her a tune up.  With a little more conversation, bingo I discovered yep the same “trainer” I purchased the Buckskin Horse from. Now with little to no knowledge of horses you can guess what kind of trainer she was, little feed and a whole lot of chasing them around with a buggy whip to wear them down before she “trained” them.  I didn’t buy a horse from that farm, I figured If they worked with someone like that, I didn’t want anything to do with them.  I bought another mare, I’ll save that story for another day.

When we made the move to Oregon, Gus and our other two horses at the time had to be turned out on dry land pasture until we could get them moved to the new place. A very good friend and neighbor watched out for them for about three months.  The day finally came when we could go get them, so I had my horse shoer meet us there to give them a trim before they embarked on the journey to their new home. The horse shoer had the horses caught and tied to the trailer when we arrived, except I didn’t see Gus until I walked around to the other side of the trailer. But that couldn’t be Gus, he was two inches taller and was broad through the hip and chest, he had grown in those three months. He turned a darker shade of buckskin and all his markings got darker, all four legs were striped like tiger stripes.  Today he stands at 15 hands and weighs over a thousand pounds. He truly was a horse of another color compared to the one I brought home in a sympathy buy.


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