Elly, A Gift Horse

We always had horses. There was old Joe when I was very small. My Dad always called them “Hay Burners.” We had a variety when I was growing up. As they say there are a thousand tales and this is just one of them.

This gift horse was called Elly. She was an orphan. We got her from the Great Northern Railroad. They used to ship horses, cows, pigs, and sheep by stock cars. Elly was with her mother and apparently the mare died in shipment. The Railroad official gave Elly to my Dad and we bottle fed her as she was still a small foal. She grew up without a mother to show her right from wrong and she was probably the most mischievous horse alive.

No that is too nice a word, she was onery and she delighted in doing whatever she could to cause trouble. She bit and kicked at the drop of your hat. She chewed and gnawed at anything she could get her teeth on. My folks owned a brown 4 door 1963 Oldsmobile Dynamic 88, Elly decided that the fins on the back of the car would be a good place to try out her strong teeth. She left more than a few large bite marks on the paint. I should say lack of paint after she bit it. She also liked to chew on the seat covering of my little Honda 50 motor cycle till there was nothing left but foam. My back was bit more than once and she delighted in kicking at me.

She was a devil horse to say the least.

The Railroad official who gave her to us was cursed by my Dad on more than one occasion. Both my Dad and my Ma, who by the way was a great Horse woman, tried everything they could to train her and get her out of her bad behavior. Nothing worked. Patience, impatience, rewards or punishment nothing made one ounce of difference.

I never knew what happened to her, but one day when I came home she was gone. I imagine my folks gave her to some unsuspecting soul. Never look a Gift Horse in the mouth, as she may bite the hell out of you. Then kick the daylights out of you when you run. Just sayin… No one mourned Elly being gone..

Young Cowpoke Russell Crites at the farm circa 1963

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