As I’ve stated before, John A has had quite a history with black horses with a star in their foreheads. This one in particular, Badger, once threw a fit in a trailer and tore the star right out of his head. While John A might’ve had a turn of luck had he kept it that way, he asked the vet to sew it back on. And that was just the tip of the iceberg.
When I was just starting to ride big horses and going on the bigger drives, a whole new set of challenges arose for a parent. New lessons had to be learned. One day, we were watering our sweat-soaked horses at a stock tank that sat in the lot of the pens we had just gathered to. For some reason, I was scared that my laid-back steed would sink into the red west Texas clay.
If we’re being honest, I still get prickly when the initial sink happens.
So, uncharacteristically, John A stepped off of his black horse and lead him to the water to show me how to let them drink while keeping my feet on dry ground.
My horse, the infamous Pretty Boy, did it just fine, but Badger shorted out and was working on backing up so fast that he almost pulled the reins from John A’s hands. Naturally, a training session was to ensue. Adopting the “I’ll give you something to back up about” mentality, John A went to work on getting Badger to get right.
That’s when we heard the splash.
We saw a seething John A on the tank dam—smoke coming off of his mustache. A whole crew of men, and a few kids, followed his laser gaze to the black head and leather saddle horn we saw floating around in the tank.
Badger was so deep that his feet were no longer touching, and he was living his best life.
We fought to hold back chuckles and smiles. I scrambled to climb back up on Pretty Boy before the wrath of John A remembered why he was afoot in the first place.
After several minutes, Badger was thoroughly cooled off and finally done with his spa day. He proceeded back to the bank, every inch of him and John A’s rig wet and a touch red.
There was never any back down in that horses, and there still isn’t in that man. They butted heads for a few more years until Larry Reeder took a fancy to the Roman-nosed, ranchy gelding and bought him for a turnback horse.