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Breakfast With Mama - part 43
By Kathy Johnson, Executive Director, MHP
Toothpaste, Rubber Bands and Horse Thieves:
MHP Gets A Clue
Exclusive Dozen, or Clue, was born to the life of luxury. He has some of the best old quarter horse breeding in the world. He was son of Easy Dozen and grandson of Easy Jet, one of the fastest and most prepotent quarter horse stallions ever. Chicho and Clue share the same grandfather, Easy Jet, and if you look closely, behind the color and through the muscle, you will see the similarities in bone, strength and spirit.
Clue grew up with the best of feed and handling. He was a pampered athlete being groomed to be a race horse. By the time he was two, he busting out of the gate, flying past his competition and winning races.
Clue was fast, so fast he got his Register of Merit in racing and entered the Hall of fame, so fast he had a speed index of 90, considered "excellent" in quarter horse racing. He was a champion. But his speed and his fame were also his downfall.
A young man, a criminal from Oklahoma stole, some blank checks. He used those checks to travel to Texas, where he got to know Clue's owners. He bought 5 of their best horses from them, then hauled the horses back to Oklahoma. There, he had a problem. By then, the owner knew the checks were bad. The thief could not get the registration papers for the horses. He could not sell them for the great price he envisioned. He became angry, frustrated and was running out of money to feed the horses. They lost weight. At some point, he became so angry he broke Clue's nose with a 2 x 4. You can still see the dent.
Eventually the criminal sold Clue for next to nothing, with forged paper work. The woman who bought Clue realized information had been changed on Clue's coggins test. She called the sheriff. The next day the sheriff and the Texas Rangers were at her door. Thanks to her quick action, they caught the thief and threw him in jail. But what would she do with Clue? She bought him because she felt sorry for him. They now knew who his real owners were in Texas. She called them and told them about Clue. He was in such bad shape, they let her keep him. She continued to fatten him and tend to his wounds.
At that point, about 14 years ago, my friend Don entered the picture. The woman with Clue offered him for sale to Don. Don took one look at the scruffy, knot headed horse and said, "no way." But then Clue turned, and galloped across the pasture. Don had never seen a horse run so pretty and so fast. He bought him on the spot.
Don and Clue became really good friends. They roped together for a dozen years or more, winning money, belt buckles, championships and more money. Clue was the best horse Don ever owned. They roped throughout the west, and Clue never quit. Even when he hurt his shoulder, he won a championship. Even when he was growing older, he would not stop or slow down. So, Don decided Clue had given enough, and that he would have to ask the horse to slow down. He retired him. That lasted just a year or so. When Don's daughter, Bug, around 6 years old, wanted to learn to rope, Don knew there was one horse who could teach her. Clue. He brought Clue out of retirement, and soon Bug and Clue were heading and heeling steers. Clue was a perfect gentleman and a wonderful teacher.
But as Bug got stronger, Don decided she should move up to a younger horse. He retired Clue for the second time. Clue went to live at the edge of a river, where he shared his space with another horse. Once or twice a year, he was pulled out of the field to act as the "Hubby Horse," the horse even a husband who had never ridden could ride. Every now and then someone's kids or grandkids would want to ride a horse. They could sit on Clue, four at a time!, He safely gave them their first taste of horseback riding. It was a gentle easy life, but Clue didn't get much attention and the Wyoming winters were rough.
Don came to Medicine Horse every now and then to visit. He likes what we do here and he asked me if we could use Clue. We could always use a gentle, kind horse, at 18, not too old. And so Clue came out of retirement for the second time, in order to serve more people. Clue came to Medicine Horse a little pasture rough, but very sweet and kind. He had hairless patches on his coat called sarcoids. The one over his eye had turned into a giant, inflamed, bleeding, bump. His feet were sore from moving from a soft riverside pasture to the hard rocks of Boulder.
And so, we put duct tape on his feet to pad them from the rocks. I read that if you operated on sarcoids, like the one on his eye, the cells could get very angry and grow back faster and bigger than before. I also read that if you put toothpaste on the sarcoid, the fluoride will kill cell growth.
The vet took one look at Clue's bump and said, "Toothpaste?! You're using toothpaste? We're going to use a rubber band!"
She snapped a tight rubber band at the bottom of the bump. Every day it is getting smaller and less inflamed. It should fall off soon. Clue's feet are feeling better, too. He is held together by toothpaste, duct tape and rubber bands.
If you watch in the Old Man's Pasture, where Clue goes out, most of the time, you will see him with his head down, eating. But if you blink, he will be all the way across the field, with his head down, eating. It took me awhile to figure it out, but finally, I saw Clue gallop. He went from 0 to 50 in about .005 seconds. He was a bay blur, his body and head almost floating over the grass as his legs churned underneath him. He is fast, very fast. When Chicho tries to bully him, he is gone before Chicho can even catch sight of him again. He runs with efficient precision, and most of all, unbelievable speed. Although old, bowed, and slightly knotty, his coat gleams with good health and good breeding, his muscle lines ripple, and his eyes shine with kindness. He greets every visitor to his stall with nuzzles and love. He is a champion.
Please take the time to meet Clue. Use him in therapy sessions. Groom him and hand graze him. Bring him carrots for his bucket. Let him know that his glory days are not over. There are lots of people who can lean on his strength and learn from his courage. His work has just begun.
Chapter Index - Don't Miss The Other Episodes
Breakfast With Mama copyright 2011, 2012, Kathy Johnson
Photos copyright 2011, 2012, Tony Johnson
Don't Miss Events, Classes, Photos and "Breakfast With Mama"