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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Stupid Kamikaze Birds – Flash’s Story

When I was a kid, we had a mare named Sonny Gill’s Flash, we called her Flash.  That was real original, except in the story behind the story the name fit!

Dad brought her home in a small two horse (home made) trailer.  The trailer didn’t have a top and, of course, all of the wind and lights was just too much for her to handle.  We hadn’t gotten very far when we hear a terrible ruckus from the trailer.  So Dad stopped and when he got to the back of the trailer, he found she had kicked the back door out!  What a start to life with the Johnsons!

Since Dad was a feedlot cowboy, she spent her first couple of years in the feedlots.  She was pretty handy working a cow and she could pull one around pretty well too!  I think I got her as mine to ride when she was about four.  Boy, she was snake on the ground.  Anything could come up behind her and she would run smooth over you to get away!  I suppose she was given to me because there is a fine line between brave and stupid, most of the time I didn’t know which side was which.

 But in the saddle, that was a different story!  I ran in gymkhana’s with her and she could really move (she was out of a stallion called Gill’s Sonny Boy – same as Charmayne James great horse Scamper.  I wonder…did that make her sort of a celebrity?).  Of course if I had been a better hand, there is no telling what she could have been.  I always wanted to ride in the Mill Iron Wranglers with her, but of course the flag popping and snapping was just too much for her fragile mind!  Once we were waiting for a parade to start (the one time I rode her in the Wranglers) and one of the carnival rides started to move.  Boy, you’d have thought it was a giant horse eating monster!  She wanted to leave the country, but was too afraid to turn her back on the evil thing…fortunately for me!  That pretty much ended her career as a parade horse…just way to quick and jumpy for all those crowds.

As Dad evolved so did our thinking habits about horses.  We started asking why she acted like everything was trying to eat her.  Come to find out she was partially blind in one eye!  Once we figured that out, it became a whole lot easier to deal with her.  Of course other than Dad, no one else was brave (stupid?) enough to ride her but me.

After we had moved to Kansas (a feedlot cowboy’s nomadic life), we kept our horses at a place that wasn’t very far from Dad’s work.  So it was pretty easy for him to change horses, he was just tell one of us boys to ride the 4-5 miles and bring a new horse over whenever he needed one.  Well, if you know anything about Kansas, there are a lot of pheasants.  They seem to have suicidal tendencies, everyone there seemed to broken front windshields from those things flying up at the side of the road. 

 Dad had asked me to ride Flash over, so I headed over as he had requested.  One of the things that I always enjoyed about Flash was the “feedlot walk” that she had.  It just meant that she could walk reallllly fast!  So we were cruising down the side of the rode and lo and behold….there was one of them dad gummed pheasants waiting, in a death watch, on the side of the road!  That thing was probably 10 or 12 feet away when it launched itself for its kamikaze run!  Now this probably speaks volumes for their intelligence, it’s hard to kill yourself running into a horse.  Unfortunately, it is easy for a horse to try and kill a rider.  Once that pheasant hit Flash in the side of the head, it must have knocked that BB that was her brain loose and it started rattling around inside her head!  She turned so fast it was all I could do to stay on her back; well technically I was more hanging waaay out on the side with one hand on the horn and one foot on the back of the cantle.  She tore through that wheat field on the other side of the road, like the devil himself was chasing us.  The scenery was whizzing by so fast I thought I was going to get car sick…err…horse sick!   I was finally able to climb back in the saddle, but getting her to shut down…heck even slow down, was hard to do!  In her mind, satan had attacked her and she was not letting him catch her!  Her natural prey instincts had kicked in, that instinct is fight or flight….she was in full flight mode.  Luckily, the fields in Kansas are usually a full section, so we never had to cross any roads.  But wow!  It was some ride; a horse in full panic mode can cover some ground!  I got her calmed / slowed down and headed back to the feedlot, but her mind was a mess.  She was hyper sensitive to any movement from the wheat fields; of course I was pretty hyper sensitive myself, but the rest of the trip was uneventful, except for the nerves!

Looks like a horse eater, doesn't it!

Flash was a pretty good horse, but she just wouldn’t tolerate pheasants after that!  I don’t blame her, stupid kamikaze birds!

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