December 25th, 2006


Winter Clipping Story -- Raven

When my cousin and I bought a horse from the Puget Sound region in WA right before the end of the year (86?), we said, "DO NOT CLIP HIM." But, show barns have clipping-up-to-send-out embedded in the brain. He got the INSIDES of his ears trimmed, his chin hairs, the whole schmear. (They V'ed his neck, and did not BODY CLIP him, thinking they were doing as we wished.)

AARGG! My cousin lives in the WY shadows of the Rockies, and had NO stable, just a three-sided shed. The way the shipping worked out, he came out with a load of Thoroughbreds to be bred in Kentucky... in January. His wife took one look at his finely tipped, hairless ears, and knitted him wool "mittens" for them, which were tied on with knitted, rolled, ties under his jaw. He kept his ear tips... Other years, once he'd been here a while, he never needed "help" again. Of course, he never got more than a bridle path except in SUMMER SHOW SEASON, and was given plenty enough time to hair up for fall.

The Raven Chat Thread That Began This Reminisce

S. wrote in a horse chat I belong to: I wish that I could have met ROL Raven in person! I've heard so many wonderful stories about him and feel honored and privileged to share my world with two of his kids! HAAP Tabithe has to be one of the most beautiful mares I have ever met! :-) And his son Pandemonium River is just a doll!


Last month, Pandemonium Fleur's new owner came and we watched centuries-old video (actually, the earliest was from 1986, when I got my first camera). Among the clips were shots of his arrival in Iowa in a grain hauling truck. He was up front, and we backed it up to a bank. He unloaded just fine, then, since I lived on a gravel road at the time, we took him down to the creek for a bath. The shots were hilarious. It sure shows off that disposition.

For years, he came to Iowa over Memorial day and went back to WY a bit before Labor Day. He was a trouper to haul. Once I took a local girl who had never been further west than Iowa along. We didn't make it clear to fayzee's (outside Wall, SD), so had to pull into a rest area. At dawn, Raven awoke and was ready to eat. S. unloaded him while I policed his side, using the handy trash receptacles and sweeping up with my horse show barn broom, much to the delighted amazement of others pulled in nearby.

S. was mostly asleep, and as Raven ate in the roadside alfalfa, his halter, which had a broken snap, hooked around a plant and slipped from his head as he moved on to another spot. S. stood, faithfully holding the rope, as he grazed further and further away. I popped out of HAAP Louis' stall with a loaded shovel and nearly panicked.

We were not far off the Interstate, and if he took off, he'd be hit for sure. Calmly on the outside, but churning inside, I set the scoop down and got out the morning grain ration.

"Come on, Raven," I called, shaking the bucket as I dumped his in the manger, the scene in my mind's eye the motel stop on the way to the International Championship Pinto show in Paw Paw, MI, where BOTH stallions we were hauling unloaded themselves at dawn and ran off in opposite directions, the patrolman's chilling words, "I hope we get there before he gets out in traffic. I don't want to have to shoot him."

His head came up and he trotted over, hopping in and chowing down. Then we replaced the halter and fixed a piece of bailing twine (the horseman's equivalent to the handy man's duct tape) as a throat latch.

When we got to Fayzeee's, her husband G., an old time "real" cowboy, didn't believe the story.

We rode that day all over the ranch, leaving early the next morning. I dumped the grain in the mangers, then went into the stallion pen to get Raven. Louis, a freshly weaned Pinto son of his, I led, but Raven's rope was over his back. (Raven lived in a pasture with the mares and foals at my place, so he was used to "babysitting" for his harem. He drew the line at nursing them, but his protest generally was a lifted leg that never landed.) He stayed beside me until we got through the corral complex,
then he went ahead and loaded himself. Louis wasn't far behind him.

'Nough said. G. raised ONE eyebrow. He knew I was just showing off because he'd doubted the horse would load that well. Lest you think I put showing off ahead of my horse's safety, I should point out that there was also a closed gate between the road and the home place. Even if Raven had felt like going somewhere else, it wasn't the hairy situation having an Interstate less than 50' away was.

That was also the trip that I took photos of S. and Raven, carefully lined up, so he was a fifth head at Mount Rushmore. I wonder if I ever posted one of those shots? I'll reference it if I can find it. I still miss that old guy!

*Note to self*
Spell check doesn't work on the titles....