Guymon Daily Herald

My colt is back worse than ever!

- By James Lockhart EDITOR’S NOTE: James Lockhart lives near the Kiamichi Mountains in southeast Oklahoma. He writes cowboy stories and fools with cows and horses.

I’ve written about good and bad horse trainers before. I’ve pointed out how one trainer rode a colt for me in a round pen. The colt was lost when he came home and went out in the big pasture. I guess, lately, I’ve learned not to gripe though, because at least that guy rode the colt.

Now, I’m a tightwad and nothing makes me more aggravated than a yea-hoo who says one thing and does another. I can’t stand a person who just flat out lies and wants to be paid in full for a job that wasn’t even half done. I get to thinking about all the time and work I spent earning the money I’m supposed to hand over to pay someone for lying to me. The more I fret on it, the madder I get. So, let me explain my aggravatio­n.

A few weeks ago, I sent a good-minded colt to a young man to be rode for 30 days. Now, normally, 30 days isn’t enough time to get a good handle on a colt, but this colt is coming five and he’s been dummy roped on, he’s packed out deer and he’s pushed thousands of steers down the alley at the church ropings. He just needs to learn how to hit high gear. He thinks he’s supposed to do everything at a walk or a trot.

So I leave him with a guy and leave $500 in cash when I deliver him to the trainer. I kind of wanted the trainer to feel like I’d pay extra, if he did me a good job. So a few days goes by and I see where the trainer is off in another state rodeoing for a few days. Then he comes home and there’s a solid week of snow and ice.

Next, he calls and says this colt can really buck. Now, I’ve rode the colt a bunch and he’s only bucked one time with me. I don’t say anything other than send me some videos of you chasing the donkey on him. I specifical­ly asked him to chase the donkey on my colt because I want to rope my hot heels on him this summer. Nothing, no videos, not much communicat­ion at all. The red flags are a going up in my mind.

Then the young man calls and asks if I can come get him because it’s been 30 days. He admits he couldn’t ride during the snow and ice and agrees to keep him until the weekend. So the weekend comes and I meet the young man at a roping. I almost fainted. I think my colt dropped a hundred pounds in a month. One thing is for sure, he wasn’t fed much at all.

I get him home and the first thing I notice is the colt wants to put his nose way up when I’m trying to bridle him. He’s always been good about keeping his head down and being really easy going. He tenses up when I saddle him and walks with the head up and nose out to the arena. As soon as I get on him I can feel his heart beating fast. He’s in fight or flight mode. When I ask him to move, he kinds of bolts. It took me a good half hour to get him to lower his head and flex at the poll. If I asked him to back up he would lock up and refuse to tuck his nose at all.

When I asked him to lope a circle, he’s all over the place and running wild. He has no clue what a short lope is or how to lope a circle. He could trot circles when I dropped him off, he acts like he’s forgot how to do that.

I think the young trainer didn’t ride my horse but two or three times except for the last week he had him. I think that last week he tried to cram 30 days of riding in to four or five days. The colt is showing the whites of his eyes and acts like he’s been beat on a lot. There’s no such thing as loping around collected, flexing at the poll and stopping on his hind end.

I paid $750 bucks to this guy and horse came back poor as a snake and riding worse than when I dropped him off. I could have bought a couple of roped out steers and taught this colt more in a week following them around than what this guy did in a month. I wish I had kept my money, it sure would’ve done more good here than in that guy’s pocket. One things for sure though, it’s the last dollar he’ll ever get out of me.

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