Whitesburg KY

Cowgirls on the mini-farm

“We need a mini-farm,” my wife said, “where can we spread out and do more things.

So we bought one. It had 13 acres. There were three with 135 large trees around the house, 10 acres of open field, an apple orchard and a four-bedroom house out in the country.

My 15-year-old stepdaughter said that since she was born in Texas and lived there for 12 years, she was a “cowgirl.” And, since we had the room, she wanted a horse to ride around on the farm.

It took us a month to fence off two one-acre tracts for the horse to graze in them alternately, and another month to fix up a stall in the outside storage room. It took that long because she never had the time to help me.

I finally forced her to help me, threatening not to buy her a horse, and we finished it in one day.

My wife, born in Beaumont, Tex., decided that she needed a horse too. So we went horse hunting.

We found one for our girl that she liked in Louisville, and hired a friend to haul her to Ohio. She was a nineyear old Tennessee Walker, a pretty horse.

My wife settled for a Paint horse. We put both horses in the pasture. I had to feed and water them every day, and go get more feed at the store when needed.

We were on the farm for three years. Our daughter’s horse came with a saddle, and she rode it a grand total of three times. She found a small hole in the saddle and said she needed a new one. I paid $450 for a new saddle, and she put it in the barn.

About four months later I raised up the blanket covering the saddle, and only the old one was under it. I asked her about it and she said, “I needed some money, so I sold it to a friend for $110.”

My wife rode her horse two times in three years. He would see her coming with the bridle and would run away from her. At that time she weighed about 260 pounds, and he didn’t want her on his back.

He ate all the poison ivy off of the fence, and when she brushed him she got it all over herself. I sold him to the next person who said he liked the horse.

Our daughter graduated from high school and went to Mississippi to work. While leaving, she said, “Keep my horse. I want to come back and ride her sometime.”

I said, “Okay,” and sold her that weekend.

I learned some good lessons about raising horses. Having horses on your farm is like pouring money down a drain.

Horses don’t go up in value. They’re too much work for just one person. Horse feed doesn’t get any cheaper. I even waded through three feet of snow to feed and water them during the “Blizzard of ’78.”

So go ahead and buy your “cowgirl” a horse. See who pays for it in the end.

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