Monday, November 9, 2009
Larson Finds a Home -- Part Three & Final Installment
A few weeks into Larson’s arrival at Snow Hill, Elizabeth reported to me that all was well. Nelson was thrilled with his new burro and there was no longer any threat from the neighbor dogs or coyote. Larson’s new career had taken hold and everyone was happy.
But a year later circumstances changed in the slightest and strangest way.
Nelson went to feed his cows one morning and found Larson adamantly chasing one of the new calves. Nelson was concerned enough that he caught Larson and led him across the road, where he deposited him in the pasture with Catherine’s myriad of old hunt horses and school ponies. Catherine was in mid-semester of her summer riding camp. Each morning several cars full of young girls would arrive at Snow Hill to spend the day grooming and riding horses with Catherine. Of course, these young girls got to know the workings of the farm well and one of their favorite duties of the day was to ride over to the cattle field with Nelson to watch him feed the cows. The star attraction of the cow field for the young girls was Larson, of course -- while Nelson fed the cows, the girls could pet and feed Larson carrots.
Well, on this strange morning, the campers arrived and immediately noticed that Larson was in the field with the horses. He was NOT on his usual side of the road. The girls immediately inquired, “Miss Catherine, Miss Catherine! What is Larson doing over here?” and Catherine responded as honestly as she could.
“Well, girls. Larson lost his job with the cows this morning and now he’s living with the horses.”
Well this put a small panic among among the horse camp girls. They heard Lost His Job very loudly and they feared for Larson’s future. When lunch time came Catherine retreated to her house to eat lunch with Nelson and her son Henry, while the horse campers ate their lunches from paper bags, picnic style, outside in the lovely summer air. A half an hour into lunch, Catherine heard a knock at the door. She opened the door to find two or three of her campers earnestly waiting for her, “Miss Catherine, Miss Catherine, we want to show you something. ” Catherine followed the girls out into the noon day sun to the rail of the riding ring. And what she saw out in the ring astounded her. There was Larson, with a saddle and a bridle on and a little girl led him as another girl rode him! Larson’s head was low and obedient to the little girls’ commands.
“See, see Miss Catherine!” the girls pleaded, “Miss Catherine, Larson has a new JOB!” The girls were so afraid that Catherine and Nelson would get rid of Larson, they took it upon themselves to show that he could be ridden.
Catherine called me the night after this happened and asked me point blank, has Larson ever had a saddle on his back? I told her no way. “You know those girls cinched that girth up REAL tight!” Catherine laughed. I laughed and said, “You know, if you and I had tacked him up and tried to ride him like that, we would have ended up in the nearest tree!” Catherine reassured me that Larson had proved himself worthy of his “new job”!
As the old saying goes about horses, and now I think it can be edited to apply to burros, “A burro will never harm drunks or children!”