June 03, 2005
More about Buck
As I said before, during the time we spent getting to know the horse “Dan” I also began to become very attached to Buck. He was a complex horse, but I found him easy to love. He had a really tough life with his present owner, but in his eyes I saw an animal willing to forgive the human despite all of his troubles.
As luck would have it, one day I went to ride Buck and he was gone! I called the owner who said he’d taken him to Colorado to his brother’s ranch. I was devastated! In fact, I hadn’t realized just how much I loved Buck until he was gone.
I begged the owner to let me buy him, and fortunately, he agreed. The next problem was getting him home. I found out that the owner’s dad was going to Colorado in the fall for a hunting trip. We arranged to have him brought back then.
When Buck came home he was a total mess. There were open sores the size of limes on each side of his withers, he had several puncture wounds under his front legs, and he was easily 200 pounds under weight. He had half of his tail hair cut off, and I understood that this old man had a habit of tying horse’s tails together. There we tie down scars on his nose, and his tongue had been damaged from a bit.
Upon delivery of Buck all this sorry excuse of human had to say was “You know, I wanted this horse.” Guessing that his son bypassed his dad’s wishes and sold him to me, I knew it was a tough situation, but this was news to me and I had already paid for Buck. Looking back I honestly think this old man figured that if he trashed Buck I wouldn’t want him. I knew the horse history of the old man, so for certain I wasn’t backing down, and I wasn’t about to let Buck finish his life that way.
I took me about 4 months to rehab the Buckman. I didn’t ride him at all; I just tried to help him heal. I spent long hours doctoring his wounds and letting him graze on the grass in his new place. He got groomed more in those 4 months than I think he’d been groomed in his whole life.
Given his background it doesn’t surprise me that Buck is wary of the human. What does surprise me is his willingness to trust a human at all. Forgiveness is one of the amazing aspects of a horse, and this horse in particular, and it continues to draw me into his world.