“I haven’t seen old Yankee out for a long time”, I pointed out to the pleasant young blond woman now working a curry over the big buckskin.
“That’s right!” she explained. “Bob said I could ride him in the Ride and Tie today up in QuickSilver Park!”
My brain quickly calculated the ride and concluded that the start to the Ride and Tie was about three miles and 900 feet of elevation down the road, and old Yankee had not even been out of his paddock in over a year.
“Are you sure he’s up to that?” I queried with genuine concern. “Oh no problem”, said the Blond. “He’s an old cow horse, and strong as a bull,” she explained.
“Well OK” I acquiesced. “But take it easy on him”.
“Oh I will” she said.
I was so worried about the situation that as she was saddling the old man, I sauntered back over again and asked her a few questions to gauge her experience. She seemed to know generally what she was doing, but was not concerned about the condition of the horse, or lack of. I pointed out again that Old Yankee had been standing around for a year, looked to me to be over 20 years old, and was probably not in good enough shape for the Ride and Tie. She assured me several times that she would take it easy on him. And she was clearly becoming annoyed with me.
But I still wasn’t very happy about it. His feet didn’t look very good, no shoes and a bit long. His back had dropped with age, and you could see the shallow hole above his eye socket seeking nutrition. But Yankee wasn’t my horse. Heck, he wasn’t even her horse. And she had permission to ride him. And no one else seemed to care. So, with a final comment from me about his lack of condition, the pretty blond rode Yankee off the ranch and down the road toward the Ride an Tie.
Yankee was so proud as he exited the ranch. Ears perked, he finally had a job to do – and he was gunna get her done.
About six hours later, while I was bathing my mare, I noticed the pretty blond girl walking up the graveled drive into the ranch. But no Yankee.
She was crying, and as the tears streamed down her face she managed to explain that Yankee had collapsed in the park, not far from the start of the ride. Everyone was heartsick she said, and they quickly brought in a back hoe and buried him right there, in QuickSilver Park.
The poor girl was so bereaved, going on and on asking how this could happen to her. What would she tell Bob?
All I knew was I had a thing or two to tell Bob.
But for Ole Yankee, job well done my friend, rest in peace…