Friday, December 4, 2009

Whitey - Dad's Favorite Horse

Before Dad and Mom were married Dad worked on a ranch near Pegram.  He became aware of a herd of wild mustangs that roamed the sage brush hills in that area.   Among the mustangs was a beautiful white stallion which Dad immediately took a fancy to.  After several attempts and with the help of his friends he was able to catch the stallion and then the battle began to see who was going to be the boss.  Everyone advised Dad to turn him loose before someone got killed.  He had a mean streak that would turn out to me a mighty challenge before he would become a horse that was enjoyable and safe to ride.   They saddled him up and a friend snubbed the halter rope to his saddle horn and they proceeded out toward the desert.   When they had traveled that way, with the two horses fastened together for a ways, his friend tossed him the halter rope and away they went, whitey, which become his name, took the bit in his teeth and he ran and ran until both horse and rider were too tired to go on.   Whitey didn't buck but he did about every thing else to discourage his rider.  It was all Dad could do to hang on, he couldn't guide him or stop him.  Finally he got him back to the corral where the saddle was removed and the horse fed.  Dad had won the first battle.  Many other fights remained.  One time when dad was coming home to Lanark from Paris he tried to turn up the Lanark road that is the main road that runs through Lanark.  Whitey would have no part of it ,however, and continued at  a full run down the road.  Finally, dad was able to turn him up the Lanark lane.  The snow was deep and Dad really the laid the reins to him as they plowed through the snow.  By the time they got to the house both horse and rider were worn out but Dad never had any more trouble with "Old Whitey" as he came to be called.

No one but Dad could get close to him.  He came to like dad and would come to him when he went down to the corral.  I think it was case of mutual respect.   If anyone else climed into the corral he would flatten his ears back and charge.   As I look back I think it was fortunate that no one got injured by him.  Old Whitey was a high spirited  animal and seemed to run every where he went.  Dad was fine with that.  I remember Dad riding bareback much of the time, kind of like you see the Indians do in the movies.   Old Whitey got old however and one day when dad came home from deer hunting his friend was lying out in the field in an un-natural way.  I remember Dad dropped his rifle and his lunch sack and ran out into the field.  I think it was the only horse Dad ever had those kind of feelings for.  In this case man and animal were best friends, Sort of like Bart and River.   I thank Bart for providing the image of the mustang above, as I'm sure there were never any pictures taken of Old Whitey.  This picture, however, is a "dead ringer" for Dads horse.
By Ellis

1 comment:

  1. I remember the stories, but I don't remember ever seeing this horse personally. Maybe I was just to young to remember those things at the time. I do remember being with dad one time over in the North Pasture and seeing a number of bleached white bones lying there. Dad told me that they were Old Whitey's bones. I also remember mom telling me how handsome dad looked when he came to court her riding on Old Whitey. I think most of the kids and grandkids heard something about dad's wild white mustang. Thanks, Ellis, for posting this information. I'm glad the picture I sent was suitable. From what I was told about Old Whitey, I imaginied he must have looked something like that.