A Cowboy’s Faith: No knack for racehorses

A Cowboy's Faith: Click to read more from Frank J. Buchman.“Let’s race and see whose horse is the fastest.”

Challenges like that have been common since man started riding horses. Anybody on their favorite horse anxiously wagers a horseback friend to a race.

Larry on Rebel challenged Nellie down the straight away. Whew, Nellie won hands down, bringing big grin to her grocery store carryout boy rider. However, all outcomes weren’t that pleasant.

Of course, patterned racing, like running around barrels, has been sport ever since Spot came in ’62. But, real racetrack competition was later.

Without any prejudice, Quicksand was fast, but when the gate opened, he soured. True story though, that big grey gelding still just about caught the field, but not quite.

Riding horses for a number of customers, opportunity arose to also train a couple of racehorses. Success had semblance to attempts at being a bull rider. Not too good, yet some fond memories of horses, their owners and races.

Bo was a sorrel gelding entered in the breeder’s race futurity and then to sell at his annual auction. Exercised at the ranch, Bo was given practice outs at Emporia’s Bluestem Downs and official starts at Eureka Downs.

“Dead last.” Excuses were he “wore himself out prancing ahead of time and the jockey was too big.” Efforts to fix those problems were of no avail as Bo came in last at the futurity. Nevertheless, reprieve came when Bo sold for a high price at the owner’s production sale.

Yet, chance came to train another race prospect. He was big, well-bred, aggressive, and seemed to have lots of heart.

Despite ample owner support, diligent training, and two race seasons, that horse was last across the finish line every out, too. Obviously, the trainer didn’t know what he was doing, but was still a slow learner.

Instead of somebody else’s money, Breezing Machine was purchased to be a ranch champion. By a Supreme Champion, Breezy honestly was a runner.

He was so speedy that the little race training saddle was impossible for a naïve, long-legged-skinny wannabe trainer to hang onto. Still, Breezy was never sound, and also last in two official races.

No more racetrack horse training here.

Still reminded of Job 39:24: “With great excitement  trembling and shaking, the horse races over the ground. It cannot stand still when the trumpet blares.”


030615-franksmug2Frank J. Buchman is a lifelong rancher from Alta Vista, a lifetime newspaper writer, syndicated national ag writer and a radio marketing consultant. He writes a weekly column to share A Cowboy’s Faith.

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