Wednesday, 2 March 2011


I first saw him early in his life.
There was something about him that made you notice him---not so much imposing, but there was this presence about him.
Some called him ill mannered, some called him mad but that fire in his eyes was not anger, it was fear.

There was no doubt about his talent but under pressure he was unpredictable.
Even though he had proven his ability he was was not well favoured by those around him and his manner soon saw him dispatched into the wilderness of life.

I caught sight of him a couple of years later.
He had changed significantly---yes, he was taller but lighter in frame---he looked beaten--no glow, no presence and a sadness in him eyes.
The talent was still there but there was no zest to his performance---just seeing him saddened me.

A few years later I was at a friend's stables and helping him for a week with a few horses because one of his employees had left. He asked me to get feeds ready and feed the four horses in the outside yards behind the barn because they were not in work---I'm always glad when he leaves me to feed as I am a fairly generous feeder compared to his norm and believe our animals should enjoy meals as much as we do.
I got to the last yard and there he was.
He had put on some condition but his coat was dull and there was still that sadness in his eyes. I walked up to him in the yard but he swung away as I tried to put a hand on him---I poured his feed into his manger and waited for him to come to it but he just stood back----I talked softly to him and sat down next to the manger.
I don't know if it was his stomach or his curiosity that got the better of him first but he finally came over to eat----I just sat and talked to him---he kept an eye on me all of the time and flinched every time I moved a hand---but I stayed and talked til my friend came looking for me.
"Jesus Clyde", he yelled, "what are you doing with that brumby---he bites, he kicks, he tears rugs to pieces and tries to tear his stable down---if my mother didn't own him he would be at the knackery by now"
I got up to walk out of the yard and the big horse swung his rump to me to kick--I just roared "Don't you" and he stopped--he turned and walked forward and let me rub his face as I talked to him.
I spent time with him every day while I was helping my mate and every day was a more trusting day.

I had a full time job and horses of my own at another property so I didn't see him again for over a year. I had asked about him and knew that my mate's mother had made him put the big horse into work.
We were at the race track with two stable horses, neither with much talent but their owners loved them and we did our best to get them to the line. I was harnessing up one of our horses when I was bitten in the middle of my back by the horse being led into the next stall and heard this voice say "Geez, he remembers you"----I turned to see this magnificent big red horse---it was him.
He stomped his feet like a petulant child and roared like a wild beast---he lashed out behind and kicked the backboards of the stall and lunged forward to bite the stable attendants---I was pleased to see him looking and feeling so well and grabbed the stable girls hand as she tried to find his manners with a whip..
I walked up to him talking all of the time---his ears pricked up and he looked and snorted as I help out my hand for him---he stood like a statue and let out with a low murmur as I stroked his face---I looked at my friend and said "Yes, he does remember me"

We had a horse in the next race and after driving him in the parade ring, I walked up to watch him race----we had planned everything out for this horse for months and this was going to be his best chance of winning a race---we told the owners to have a bet on him but not much.
There was a lot of smiles after the race as he won by the shortest of margins but he had won his race--it was almost sad because we had said that he should retire if he won and the owners agreed---but we knew he had a good life ahead.

There was a lot of yelling as we got back to the stalls---there was the big red horse tied to the fence and my mates racing cart in pieces all around him---someone had forgotten to tie the kicking strap behind him as the pulled the cart over him and he lashed out--and once he had started, he kept going til there wasn't a lot left of the cart.
My mate said that he couldn't race now because no one in their right mind would lend him a cart for the big kicking bastard---I laughed and pulled my cart over to him--I grabbed the big horse by the bridle and spoke to him as they tied the cart down and away they went to the track.
He ran a great race without having any luck
Two weeks later he led all of the way in a Cup series race and my mate decided to retire him----not so much for the sake of the horse, but more because they couldn't get on with him----and they doubted him winning in the class he was now in.

more later


Ms Scarlet said...

You are a horse whisperer?!
I look forward to the next installment and I'm praying the big red horse ends up with you.

Clyde said...

Miss Scarlet

I don't think there is any such thing as a horse whisperer---just people who will take the time to develope a relationship of mutual trust and love.
It works the same with people

Ponita in Real Life said...

I agree wholeheartedly with you, Clyde. Too many people treat horses like motorcycles, not realizing they have emotions and feelings just like us. Taking the time to understand them individually (cuz they are not all the same!) makes a world of difference and the horse then knows it can trust you. And with that comes respect. Then they listen and would do anything for you. Can't wait to hear what happens next!

JennAventures said...

What is the Bay's name?

phishez said...

I love your horse stories Clyde. I love how you gain their trust and care when others think its too much hard work.

And I love that they trust you.

Spiky Zora Jones said...

I don;t belive animals should be beaten or whipped. I always talk to them too. and they're fine.

can't wait to read the rest.

later xx

Clyde said...


I have been an animal person all of my life but it was not until I really got involved with horses that I found personalities, emotions, feelings, needs and wants.
My last little mare was the greatest diva I have ever met

Clyde said...


There is no bay here---he was the most magnificent chestnut yet almost a colour of his own--Red

Clyde said...


I think you have to care first---and they taught me to care.

Clyde said...

Miss Jones

Every race horse that I have ever had responded to roaring at them more than whipping.
I actually invented a whipping pad for my trotters so the whip never actually hit flesh

SB said...

A wise man considers the life of his animal- Proverbs 12:10

you were very wise in your compassion and handling, that horse Clyde. you have just risen to a higher pedestal in my eyes!

Clyde said...

Lyrical Lady

I am not so sure that any of them have been "my animal"---I think I have had partnerships with a lot of beasts, some of them human.
I was never sure that I was handling him--I think he was handling me.
Hey, get me down from here--it's a long way to fall---I would rather walk alongside every other being--oh, and definitely alongside a Lyrical Lady

Anonymous said...

love the stories clyde should be a book of them seriously

Clyde said...

Tony B

I suppose if you spend enough of life doing something, there will be enough stories to fill a book.