Update: The sale is not until February 19th, which gives me some time to continue working to get these furry critters to a home where they’ll be used and shown and made into something wonderful. And I sold three today! Congrats to my girl, Ve.
Sometimes really suck.
I am supposed to be spinning this decision (Not the spin cycle people. I already spun it this week, here), for the good. I’m supposed to be saying, someone will get a really great deal, but I am not there yet, hence the reason for this post.
Here on the ranch, we’re getting darn close to having about 120 head of horses. We might have that many. Let me estimate right quick…Hmmmm….40-45 geldings, 16 weanlings, 4 studs, and another 35-40 mares. Yeah, that’s a lot of horses. And it’s just myself and Zach to do all the work associated with that many horses (Kelsey will help this summer). It’s not so bad in the summer. We can ride 12-16 head per day on a good day. If all goes as planned. Horsemen know though, a schedule rarely works. You take whatever time you need to make them better today than they were yesterday or to at least get them where they were the day before!
On the ranch, we raise registered quarter horses, and we do it to sell them. But it got a little out of hand this year. Ok. So maybe a lot. About four years ago the ranch brought in a new stud, Tom. Zach, decided that he was going to ride every colt that Tom sired, because he wanted to know how they crossed on each mare. But he was then working in town, and then in Peidmont, SD and then this summer a tragedy struck his family- his sister died in a four-wheeler accident; and the horses/ranching/haying got caught in the middle of that- so not as much got done as would have otherwise. I arrived shortly after the family crisis- in time to bury his sister; in time to find we’d lost 4 of our best broodmares (including Gump’s mamma) and 5 colts to a hailstorm. Not two days later we find that another one of our favorite mares- a new purchase from a friend of ours in Oklahoma, had dislocated her entire shoulder and was going to be permanently disabled. Her poor colt, Georges, three days later, was orphaned as the mare, who was determined to live for that foal, colicked.
Needless to say, we’re both feeling a bit overwhelmed right now with so many horses to ride (there’s about 30 geldings to ride/start/finish/ranch on). Add to that what’s been an awful winter so far, an impending high school rodeo season for his daughter, and what is hopefully a big rodeo season for myself and Shuttle and Gump and you have two people that need at least a clone apiece. So we sat down tonight and made a list of 10 horses each, to keep. The rest, go. Broodmares, studs, Gump, Shuttle, Nora, Big, Hope (Zach’s gift horse) and Pommel (Kelsey’s horse) were exempt of course. That list leaves us around 20-25 horses to take to the sale barn.
Now, some of them will go straight to the kill pen (slaughter may be banned in the US but it’s not banned in Canada or Mexico and we don’t control what goes on there) so stop your whining around people. It happens, and you don’t want me or Zach or Jill on that soapbox. TRUST ME. Those going straight to the kill pen will be crippled, have crooked legs or what have you, and for all intents and purposes other than being someone’s pet, wouldn’t make it as a horse that you could ever ride and expect to stay sound. The rest, I’m convincing myself, will end up as someone’s 4-H project or in the hands of a capable being that is looking for an awesome, trainable, kind, gentle horse, and they don’t want to have to spend a lot. I have tried on 4 occasions to sell a majority of the horses that will be making this journey- most of them are grade for one reason or another, and I can’t get any takers. At this point, I’d take killer prices on them (and I wasn’t asking much over that to begin with) to see that they’re in the hands of someone that desires a trainable, kind, cute, loveable furry friend that doesn’t and will not have papers. Lots of bites on them; but no one has pulled the trigger.
With that I’ll leave you and hope that this situation looks better in the morning after a good night’s rest and a few more returned emails and calls.