The clock is ticking for Cowboy. My mother’s palomino colt—sired by an all-around champion AQHA stallion and out of a Trakehner/Dutch show hunter mare—is soon to become a gelding. It’s not like we were planning on ever allowing Cowboy to mature into a Cowman. We were simply waiting for the right time. And based on three signs, that time has come.
The second sign was when April, Cowboy’s dam, came into season. I don’t want to go into any descriptive details, but I’m sure you can imagine how demonstrative a yearling colt can be when he suddenly discovers amore. The fact that it was his own mother who stirred his passion was doubly obnoxious.
The final motivating moment came when I was standing at the checkout counter of the local vet supply store. It was a Saturday afternoon and there had to be a dozen horse owners mingling by the cash register, their arms laden full of hoof dressing, feed supplements and topical ointments. During a lull, one fellow in jeans and a khaki shirt made a general announcement to the captive audience.
“I have this really nice stallion,” he began, speaking to no one and every one, “a palomino stud colt. He’s beautiful. A really nice horse. And I’ll breed him to your mares for $500!”
Keep in mind that the horses in my town already outnumber the people. The last thing we need around here (just like nearly every place else in America) is another horse. It was Jamie, the nice girl who works the cash register, who was diplomatic enough to say, “Oh really? What kind of a horse is he?”
“A Quarter horse,” was the response. That was followed quickly by, “But I don’t have his papers. His past owners never registered him. But he has nice bloodlines. Hollywood something-or-other. And he’s a really pretty golden palomino. I’ll breed him for only $500.”
Jamie said, with her trademark smile intact, “Honestly, I think the people in this town care about registration papers.”
And that ended that. Not even I, who rarely can contain my impulse to add a snarky comment, kept my mouth shut. But as I left the store, not far behind the man with the stallion, I realized that was my final clue to get Cowboy gelded. Heaven forbid that someday my family ended up shilling out Cowboy’s services at the local strip mall. And thus, after a short consultation with my mother and my sister, I made the fateful call to our vet, Jennifer. Cowboy’s date with destiny, when he joins the multitude of geldings on this planet, is May 11.
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