The Horse Trader Next Door
HTT says- We really debated about posting this story for two reasons. We mean no disrespect to the young woman who told her story and we’re glad she did, but one of the horses her father bought from a trader habitually flipped over backwards with its rider. According to many sources, the accident most often fatal to the rider occurs when a horse rears over, falls, and crushes the rider beneath it. The family members in this story continued to ride the horse even though it exhibited such dangerous behavior. Additionally, even after this family had been burned by the trader, they bought more horses from the same man. This might cause our readers to smack themselves on the forehead in disbelief. Remember, though, that some good-hearted people just can’t fathom the unconscionable actions of others, even when they are victimized a second time. Or a third. Or a fourth.
About 5 years ago, when my dad bought his place out in the country, he was finally able to get his own horse. He'd had horses off and on throughout his life but had never been able to keep one at home. He asked around locally to find out who had horses and got a name that turned out to be the most notorious horse dealer in the area. It's a little hard to admit that my dad is a bit of a pushover when making any kind of deals. After only 15 minutes of talking, the dealer had convinced my dad that he had the perfect horse and would simply drop it off at Dad’s house.
Dad was unsure from the start, because the guy pulled his truck and trailer into our driveway with an already saddled horse that practically rolled out of the trailer, head hung almost to the ground. My dad rode him some, decided the horse was decent enough, and gave the guy $2,000 for it.
Dad didn't try to ride it for about a week but when he did, the horse went into one of the most horrific bucks Dad had ever ridden. He’s a capable rider so he was able to stay on and ended up going on a pretty long ride. The next time he tried to ride, the horse started rodeo broncing before he was even in the saddle. It sent him flying; then the horse chased him down and stepped on him.
Now, I wasn’t there for all of this, but I was for the rest of the fun that ensued. Dad furiously called the horse dealer, demanding his money back, telling him, “I'm a good rider, but that horse is going to kill someone.” The trader acted shocked, telling my dad "I know a lot of people but you, of all of them, seemed like you could deal with that horse!" When Dad demanded his money back again, Mr. Horse Dealer got a little upset. He told Dad he'd already bought a set of new tires with the money and couldn't give it back, but he'd trade Dad for a different horse.
Dad was extremely angry, but agreed to a trade. I think by this time, Mr. Horse Trader figured my dad was a sucker. He pulled in our driveway one day with a horse in tow.
She was a very small horse, not anything like Dad was looking for. A cow hocked, long backed, big headed, straight shouldered mare if ever I saw one. Mr. Trader insisted I ride her to show how gentle she was and indeed, she slowly poked around the yard. Even though we were both uneasy, Dad decided to take her. Lo and Behold, she bucked too although not quite as badly as the first horse. Enough to unnerve me!
This is where the 1st win comes in. The mare was actually a wagon horse, which my dad discovered when he got tired of her bucking and decided to train her to pull a wagon. Turned out, he didn't need to train her. Now, she’s amazing. People comment on how calm and gentle she is all the time. Even though she has a little spunk left she's nearly bombproof, but we haven’t tried to ride her since. Mr. Trader never let us know she was trained to drive; I don’t think he even knew.
My dad saw a horse in Mr. Trader’s pasture (he keeps his horses just down the road from us) one day that he really liked. He wasn’t keen on dealing with the trader again, but was fairly smitten with the horse. The trader was thrilled to be talking to Dad and arranged to bring the horse to our house, because he never let anyone come to his facility to try out a horse.
He not only brought one horse, but two. They unloaded from the trailer already saddled and ready to go. The second horse looked like a wreck! Her eyes were dull; she was thin and shabby and had absolutely no life in her eyes.
Once again, Mr. Trader told me to hop up on her and while I was riding, talked her up to Dad. He said she’d be a wonderful horse for me and if Dad was going to buy the other, well, he should get this one too so we could ride together. I already didn't trust this guy and I wasn't sure if buying such a shabby looking horse with possible underlying health conditions was a good idea. Once again, Dad succumbed to Mr. Trader’s ruse and agreed to buy both horses. The trader took the saddle off the skinny horse and practically ran away.
What we were left looking at was much worse then we anticipated. She was probably a 1.5 on the body condition scale (a standard method of assessing body weight in livestock, with 1 being extremely emaciated and 9 being obese), and her horribly matted tail was caked with feces. She had a snotty nose and we found out later the trader had been trying to disguise it with injections of vitamin B12. When we wormed her, it was seriously like she'd never been wormed in her life.
I did some asking around and found out that the mare had come from one of those bad situations you hear about on the news. The horses on her farm had been severely neglected. She was the only one that hadn’t been hauled away to slaughter because she had a brand. Mr. Trader had cut a deal with the truck driver thinking he could get something out of her because she'd presumably been a working cow horse.
We nursed her back to health, and eventually tried riding her. She reared and flipped over backwards.
Believe it or not, this situation was a win, too. Even though she flipped backwards every once in a while, she was my brother’s horse for years. After you got her over the initial freaking out, she would do whatever you told her to do. And to top it off, it turned out she was pregnant. We had no idea. Her pregnancy wasn’t even obvious on the day before she gave birth. Mr. Horse Trader was out at our house offering to take him off our hands almost as soon as he was born. My dad said no, of course.
That colt is now 5 years old and I started him last year. He rides in town, through the drive-thru at Dairy Queen, over any obstacle, and I even rode him to the town rodeo to sit on his back and watch the action and he was a doll. To this day, that horse trader keeps asking us if we want to sell him. And his dam? She’s got some bad joint and hip problems, but we keep her because there’s not a lot she can do and we don't want someone like Mr. Horse Trader to get ahold of her so she can hurt somebody. Mr. Horse Trader wants her back so he can breed her...he likes her baby that much. We ignore him, but I tell you, it's complete insanity.
When I went to buy my own horse, I swore I wouldn't deal with Mr. Horse Trader, but inadvertently ended up dealing with another one! I kid you not! My horse was a mess when I brought her home. She had been drugged, too. She wouldn't go forward, reared, and took off at a run when I tried to put my foot in the stirrup. Luckily, I had the ability to work with her, but if I hadn’t, I can’t even imagine the damage she could have done.
Oh yeah, our trader. He’s real notorious around here. He comes from a whole family of horse traders. His dad is the manager of stable operations for the racehorses at our local fairgrounds. His dad is just as shady. He's gotten several people hurt really bad, but the local law enforcement won’t do anything because he has lots of family in high places. Well, here, anyways.
For the next story, click here- My $5,000
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