My dad had a cousin that just hated Paint horses. He was a rancher and good
hand on a horse, but he'd have walked before he would have lowered himself to
riding a paint. Guess just to be different, this brought out a strong urge in
me to ride spotted horses.
My sisters and I learned to ride on a spotted mare. She was four years old when I was born, and she was a granddaughter of Gold Dollar. This Gold Dollar was one of the top sires of the Sandhills back in the 'thirties and 'forties, and it was said that more horses were sold to the military sired by Gold Dollar than from any other stallion. There were a lot of top ranch horses from him in the area, also. My granddad owned Gold Dollar at one time. The spotted mare that we rode was a great kid horse, and if a kid ever fell off, she'd stand plumb still so as not to risk stepping on the fallen kid. She was cowy and would buck the hired men off, but we kids could catch her anywhere and ride bareback to wherever we wanted to go.
In 1974, I acquired a good Paint four-year-old. He was on the thin side when I traded for him, so I turned him out for two weeks. This was a mistake, as the green grass acted like an aphrobuckziac (new word just coined for this occasion). He took up bucking and could do a pretty fair job of it. I developed a technique that saved on wear and tear of my hide. I'd saddle him inside the barn with the door closed. Then I'd take off the halter and open the barn door in one quick motion. He bail out and buck across the corral rather rambunctiously for quite a little time, and I'd chouse him around until he quit. Then I'd put on the bridle, get on, figure eight him for a few minutes and we were ready to go. We had to go through this rigamarole every time I rode him for several years, but he was such a darned good horse that it was worth the effort. The best part about him was that I think the horse actually impressed my dad's cousin, who just hated Paints.
This horse even got his picture in the May 1974 Western Horseman, which was taken before I traded for him. Butch Livermont is riding the horse in the picture. Butch traded the horse off to Marvin Phillips because the horse bucked all the time, and I traded a black horse and a hundred dollars to Marvin for the Paint. I kept the horse until he was eighteen years old, and traded him straight across for the two-seated buggy that we pull behind our team of Belgians. When first considering the trade, my father-in-law advised against it. He said, "Don't trade for a buggy. They deteriorate awful fast." I said, "Well, what about eighteen-year-old horses?" I made the trade and think of my old paint, Rosebud Rebel, every time I ride in the buggy.
Anyway, spotted horses have kind of been my hankering ever since.
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