To read Part One of this story, click here.
Possum’s pasture on the little ranch above town was about a mile from our house, but I happily hiked up there every day after school to see my beloved horse. At first the rancher, Mr. Kohl, helped me catch him. Possum didn’t want to be caught, and he’d kick up his heels and head for the far corner whenever he saw someone coming with a halter or bridle. Mr. Kohl and I would corner him by the barn fence.
After a few days, however, I was able to catch him by myself. I was very patient, and it didn’t matter to me if there were a few moments (or even half an hour) of cat-and-mouse games before he allowed himself to be caught. I was never in a hurry, never got angry. I was in love with that horse.
My portrait of Possum, drawn when I was 12 years old, in sixth grade
My twin cousin Diane and me, the summer I got Possum
Taking another cousin, Cathy, for a ride on Possum
Something had startled the horses, and one or both of them pulled backward. Since the pole was merely lying on the ground, it probably moved when the horses pulled back, rolling toward them and frightening them even more. So of course they tried to run away from it and pulled it out into the road, knocking over the garbage can (the noise we heard), and the clatter must have made them pull even harder! They broke their bridles and ran off. My dad had to take Possum’s bridle to the saddle shop to have Mr. Stone straighten the bit and mend the reins and headstall.
To be continued . . .
To read previous entries in the Notes from Sky Range Ranch series, click here.
Heather Smith Thomas raises horses and cattle on her family ranch in Salmon, Idaho. She writes for numerous horse magazines and is the author of several books on horses and cattle farming, including Storey’s Guide to Raising Horses, Storey's Guide to Training Horses, Stable Smarts, The Horse Conformation Handbook, Your Calf, Getting Started with Beef and Dairy Cattle, Storey's Guide to Raising Beef Cattle, Essential Guide to Calving, and The Cattle Health Handbook.