08/20/2014 06:18 pm ET Updated Oct 20, 2014

A Man and His Horse

Recently, a KCAA broadcaster told a story about her horse. It reminded me of my love for horses. As a youngster, I had a horse named Pokey who died tragically in a stall hanging accident.

This attracted the attention of Buddy Pruett, who owned a brick yard in my home town of Elgin, Texas. Mr. Pruett was a member of our riding club. He had recently purchased a young colt that he was raising to be his personal pleasure horse. The sire was a derby winner (don't remember which one), and the dam was an award winning registered quarter horse. The horse I owned previously that died was a Shetland and I suppose Mr. Pruett wanted to do something to help me and he convinced my dad that I could handle a large horse if I raised it and broke it myself.

He asked my dad and me to meet him and look at the colt. It was literally love a first sight. He said "Young man, how much do you think this colt is worth". I had a total of $150.00 that I was saving for a motor bike which was no longer a priority after I saw this wonderful creature. I said something like "Is $150.00 Dollars enough"...

For reasons I did not understand at the time, Mr. Pruett looked at my dad and winked. He said that $150.00 was exactly his asking price. I thought, wow what a great guess.

Bill, as I named the colt, grew up to be a wonderful young Stallion, with legs and muscles as strong as his mother's and with the speed and endurance of his father. He could run like the wind and there was always someone wanting to race us. No horse and rider ever beat us in these impromptu races. Bill and I retired undefeated.

Bill was a gentle giant of 16 hands. I trained him to "single foot" to keep up with the naturally gaited horses so we would not be forced into a rough trot to keep pace with the Tennessee Walkers and other Fox Trotters. My dad and I even participated in the Salt Grass Trail ride to Houston. Bill never broke a sweat.

During one trail ride when Bill was 4 years old, there was an "incident" with a mare in estrus. To say the least, Bill let his emotions get away with him. This resulted in demands by other riders that Bill stay at home or be gelded. I wanted him to eventually "Stand at Stud" to pass on his unique qualities and I knew I was taking a risk by riding a mature stallion but by that time, I was a seasoned horseman and I had convinced myself that I could control Bill in any situation. On that day, I discovered I was wrong and it was a risk that no one in Bill's proximity would share.

Bill was never the same as a gelding. About six months later, while running free in the pasture, he ran into a mesquite and poked a thorn in his eye.

I was never able to safely ride him again. He constantly threw his head back and forth to correct for his vision. By this rime, I had a young family which was my priority. I sold Bill to a horse trainer who partially rehabilitated him and that is where he lived out his life.

I never rode again.