Shortly before my retirement from Uncle Sam's Navy, the family BR trekked to Yakima to visit the Cowboy-in-law. While there, he took Mrs. BR and DN2 on a horseback ride in the hills behind his farm. I, on the other hand, went to KFC and picked up dinner. At some point in the dinner conversation, he mentioned that if Mrs. BR wanted to start riding again, he would gladly donate one of his horses. That seemed to be the end of it.
Now, I knew full well that Mrs. BR was an avid rider as kid. However, up to this point, I had not one inkling that this passion was merely dormant, as opposed to extinct. Imagine, if you will, my surprise when one day in May, 2005, the Cowboy-in-Law shows up with a horse trailer containing a retired team roping horse named Blue Boy, which he promptly deposits, and then drives off.
Mrs. BR, DN2, & DN3 threw themselves into this new activity with a passion. I would occasionally go out and watch them, but, truth be told, at this point I was fairly unenthused, and left them to their own devices.
Several months later, Mrs. BR purchased a mare named Taylor (a story for another day). The herd was growing. I was still decidedly uninterested in these rather large hay burners.
Quite honestly, I am unable to recall the moment or the reason that interest in horses took hold of me. I don't know if it was a "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" situation or what. Just suffice it to say, that by the Fall of that same year, I was on the search for a horse to call my own. With no real knowledge to speak of, and utterly uncertain of what I was looking for, the search got off to a rather difficult start.
Then I came across an advertisement containing this picture:
I wanted that horse. No questions asked. There was just one minor kink in the plan. His price tag was just a bit too steep for my wallet. Back to the search.
But, wait!!! Via a little bird, I learned that the asking price had been lowered. Within my budget to boot. Salvation.
Long story short, within days I was the proud owner of a 16 year old Appendix Quarter Horse, with the registered name of Master Alamo Joe, aka Smokey.
This picture was taken two days before I signed papers:
What a sad sack he was, apparently. Although I don't recall him looking this bad. I just remember that in my eyes, he was the perfect horse. An opinion that hasn't changed in the ensuing 4 years.
This is Smokey two days ago:
More on Old Joe in the next post.