Quick Footed Prospect
- February 21, 2023
- Jan Swan Wood
The late summer horse sales were going on and I had decided to try to pick up a young prospect to ride through the fall and have ready for my summer cattle season the next year. I’d gotten a sale catalog that had not only weanlings, but lots of riding age horses in it. So, I drove the 120 or so miles to the sale.
I’d marked some young geldings in my catalog so looked them up first and had stepped on a few of them and rode them a bit to try to narrow my choices. Having looked at all the geldings, I was ready. My idea was to buy something that had some color and chrome for the purpose of getting him broke and reselling him after using him for a season. Color and chrome didn’t make them ride any better, but they would usually sell better on the other end.
The sale got started and the market was pretty hot. Most of the geldings I’d really liked brought about twice what I was willing to pay, so I was done looking at the color and chrome set. I still needed a prospect to use, so was sure I’d still get something bought of a less exciting color. The sale stayed high and I was squeezing my checkbook pretty hard. Finally, a really tall sorrel three year old was ridden in. He was well bred and had good conformation, but had some scars on his legs that would diminish his value somewhat, though he was plumb sound.
The auctioneer started him up way high and I held myself still. Finally, the auctioneer backed way down to where I’d be willing to start bidding. The guy riding him was riding him back and forth, turning him at each end of the ring, and asking a lot out of a pretty green colt. The colt was scared out of his wits so putting up with it. In front of me was a ring man who was notoriously loud when taking bids. He’d squall like a stuck pig every time he saw a bid in his section and my ears were ringing from being too close to him. Just as the colt made his turn on my end of the ring, I finally bid and old Stan let out a squall and waved his catalog out over the ring at the same time. The colt saw that flash of white, it startled him and he kicked that catalog out of Stan’s hand and up into the crowd. Stan’s fingers must have been stinging and he lost his stride for a moment.
Not another person bid after seeing just how athletic that leggy colt was. I was suddenly the proud owner of him without any competition to be seen, and Stan more quietly kept his hand by his side and marked him off to me. For better or for worse, I had my gelding prospect, and he was certainly athletic and quick footed. It’s a good thing I hadn’t paid too much, for it was the beginning of a long and difficult journey that horse and I had over the next few years. It’s a good thing I was young, quick and partially dumb or he’d have killed me.
About Jan Swan Wood
Jan was raised on a ranch in far western South Dakota. She grew up horseback working all descriptions of cattle, plus sheep and horses. After leaving home she pursued a post-graduate study of cowboying and dayworking in Nebraska, New Mexico, Montana, Wyoming and South Dakota....