Over the course of his lifetime, my father owned hundreds of horses. No doubt he trained, evaluated, worked with, and rode hundreds more. At the time of his death, he only owned two. He introduced me to the horses about two months before he died. I remember him leaning on the fence and pointing to a dark brown mare telling me, “If you cut her, she’ll bleed gold. Her bloodline is that good.”
The mare he was talking about was Ablurrabull, who we just call Abbie. She’s the granddaughter of a horse named Murrtheblurr who won a total of $255,000 over a racing career that lasted three years. He ran in 40 races, winning 9, placing second 6 times, and third 4 times. He was then retired and stood at stud.
My dad lived with me the last few weeks of his life and he underwent kidney dialysis several times a week. I remember him sitting in the chair, tubes in his arms, and telling the nurses he was going to start his comeback with the two horses he had left, just as soon as he got his strength back. The nurses smiled and were polite.
After my dad passed, I asked people who knew the horses what I should do with them, and I was told to take them to the slaughter house. Neither of the horses had been trained and neither, for all practical purpose, had been touched by humans. In fact, I was told Abbie was dangerous as she was always looking to kick or bite if a person got to close. Since she was an older horse, there was no reason to invest time, effort and money into her.
I thought about it, but couldn’t do it. My dad was the best horseman I have ever met and if he said a horse was golden, more often than not, he was right. It wasn’t Abbie’s fault she hadn’t been trained. She was just born at the wrong time in my dad’s life. It was the people around her who failed, not her. She deserved a chance. I set about to see she got one, and she’s made full use of it.
I sent her to a horse trainer, who spent 30 days with her. He was expected to teach her to be led by halter, be touched and familiar with a person next to her, and let her feet be lifted, so her feet could be worked on. The trainer did a great job, and the mare passed with flying colors. But, it gets better.
When I went to get her, I wasn’t sure how well she would take to getting into and riding in a trailer. I had visions of her going over backward, banging her head into the roof, or kicking the side of the walls. I was more than a little nervous. I was completely off base.
She was led to the trailer and she stopped and examined it. She had only been hauled twice before and she was herded into the trailer like cattle each time. So, she was given time to check out and examine what I expected her to willingly climb into. After a few minutes, she did. She stepped into the trailer as if she had been riding in them all her life. The ride was only about 10 minutes, but she handled it like a champ. It gets better.
A couple of days later, I had reason to haul her from north or Logan to south of Salt Lake City. A trip of over two hours. Plus, she had to travel I-15 with its traffic made up of semis, motorcycles, and more idiots than most places. Again, I was worried and again, I was wrong. She made the trip and to be honest, I think she slept most of the way. No trouble at all. When we got to where we were going, she stepped out of the trailer with the grace of the homecoming queen descending the stairs. Once clear of the vehicle, she walked around me to relax and loosen tight muscles. Each time she crossed my line of sight, she glanced at me as if to say, “I got this.”
In a few days, she will be bred to a terrific stud and later birth a barrel racing horse. Follow along as we watch this miracle take place. Watch the development of a new generation with gold in their blood.