You know the abandoned horse tragedy is getting worse when they start dumping colored horses! Palaminos, paints, grays, bays, whites and Appaloosas are appearing on forest land in the west, farm ground in the east, and the suburbs of Texas.
Which seems a contradiction; before the Horse Slaughter Ban came into effect there was always a market for colored horses. Even rock solid confirmation/ cowyness-driven horse breeders and trainers would admit they look twice at the butterscotch beauty with the cottontail and mane, or a striking black and white Paint.
I wonder if once upon a time in Eohippus history, color was used to attract mates? It certainly applies in birds, fish, insects, frogs and humans. In my case, not being tall, dark and handsome, I’ve had to revert to the equivalent of frog croaking, colorful scarves and an oversize moustache!
We humans have used color to promote calico cats, longhorn cattle, Australian shepherds and parakeets. There are times, however, when I think some unscrupulous traders have tried to take advantage of the unsuspecting. For instance, at the big Stock Show in Denver I saw a ‘For Sale’ poster stuck outside the horse barn. It said, “STANDING AT STUD, GUARANTEED LIVE FOAL, $500.”
It was a colored photograph of a horse wearing a Mexican saddle standing in front of a Mexican bus. The first thing you noticed was that it was a faded light brown Paint horse. As you continued to examine the picture, the horsehide began to resemble a dirty carpet someone had thrown up on!
Then there was the ear. It looked like a little Brussels sprout on the tip of a head shaped like a cardboard box. The lower lip stuck straight out as if the box were open. The eye was not so much a pigeye, just more like a knothole in a flat board. His hind legs tucked up under him like he was preparing to leap but you knew by the lip that he was asleep. Thank goodness the saddle covered the rest of him!
In pencil, someone had crossed out the $500 and put $250, which in turn was crossed out and replaced by $100, then in sequence; 2 Spanish goats. a 3-legged Border Collie and finally by thirty head of broomtail sorrel mares, all bred…call the BLM in Reno!
Baxter Black is a cowboy, poet, humorist, and former large animal veterinarian based in Benson, Arizona –www.baxterblack.com