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The story of "Racetrack" ... (c) 2014 Chuck Cusimano
Thinking of some of the horses I've had in the past and for some reason I got to spending some time remembering a Bay colt I bought in Raton, New Mexico at the Racetrack from somebody that was clearing out and going back wherever their home was. I think it was late August or early September.
Jay was shoeing at the track and he told me about the colt. The colt was a wash out as far as a fast enough race horse and he wasn't going to break the bank for me to buy him. I went to look him over and the trainer jumped up on him bareback and plow reined him around some. He was gentle and not stupid and besides, he was kinda purty. A decent sized Brown Bay with some chrome and a nice head. He had a decent hip and clean legs. I put my stock saddle on him and rode him around a little and made the decision to write the check.
He had all the papers I needed such as Coggins, health papers, Bill of sale and the Appendix AQHA papers. He was a two year old Gelding and I loaded him up and hauled him to my place in Colorado.
I don't remember how he was bred, who his kin folks were and it didn't matter anyway. I was doing a lot of day work on area ranches and had two saddle horses. One of them had quite a bit of age on him so I figured I need to be bringing one along to fill the hole if and when the time came.
I was riding him in my corral out East of Trinidad that first day when my girls got off the School bus.
Well, you can guess how it went; "Hey, Daddy, where'd you get him?" "Is he yours, ours?" "Daddy, I wanna ride him!" "What's his name?" The questions were flying faster than I could provide answers. Here came all three of em, running up to the corral in their purty school dresses. It didn't bother the colt none and I was glad.
Again, came the question, "Daddy, What's his name?"
I hadn't even thought about it.. but, I answered, "Racetrack"..
That became his name. He was pretty well fit because they'd been keeping him in semi- race horse condition but I don't think they had really spent a lot of time or effort on him. He sure was a hungry son of a gun! He didn't have a big belly but I could see that he wanted one. He stayed in the hay rack as much as he could.
I probably rode him pretty much every day for a couple weeks before I ever took him on a job. Of course, I rode through my own cattle and drove some of them in my pasture with him just to see what he'd do and he seemed to look at cattle ok.
I got him used to a rope at home and he went right along with it just fine. I think the first time I ever took him along on a paying job, I helped a neighbor brand some fall calves. The neighbor had 20 or so slicks that come along after the last bunch he branded. I took my good Yeller horse for the gather in case we had trouble. (Ya don't take an un proven horse to a job till you know he can handle whatever comes along) once we got the cattle penned, my neighbor said, "Drag us some calves".
I told him I kinda wanted to see what my bronc would do and he said, "Sure"..
I drug half a dozen on ole Racetrack and he did just fine. Some of these calves had some weight to em and I didn't want to sour my youngster so I used my yeller horse to finish em off. I was pretty proud of him.
About a month or two later, Toby Lambeth called me and asked if I could help him up at Don Berg's. He said we'd be covering quite a bit of country and gathering a little bunch of cows and moving them to another pasture. The calves had been weaned off as it was probably like in January or maybe February by then. I told him I wanted to bring my colt if it was alright. He said "Bring him". We started up a pretty steep hill where there was some patches of snow and Ice mixed with pine needles on the ground. Pretty soon, down we went. Racetrack fell to his knees and when he tried to get his front feet under him, all four went out from under him. Somehow, I guess I realized what was happening and I got off before I could get a leg pinned under him. He landed on his left side, sliding down the hill, back first and stopped when he hit a good sized Pine tree. My saddle seat was against the tree. The pine needles were frozen in the ice and it really was slick so I guess I shouldn't have been so mad at my horse for going down where he did. I didn't have ice nails in the shoes on this horse and, I was partly embarrassed at my situation. cocktail wears specially for tall ladies
I tried to get him up and he just laid there like he'd given up! I pulled my off side, Latigo and my flank cinch loose and took my saddle off from the off side. I had to pop him on the butt with my rope to finally make him stand up. I led him to a level place and re saddled him and we went on. We got through the rest of the day with no problems but I remarked to Toby that the colt had a small heart.
I kinda got over that and used him when and where he'd fit the day that was planned. The Spring works finally started happening and by now I had ole Racetrack handling pretty well. I used to pull some wet saddle blankets off of him some nights and he was doing a good job for me.
Toby called me to help him up on the Mesa and I took ole Racetrack. We come across a big cow with a bad case of Pinkeye in both peepers. Toby asked me to rope her and he would doctor her. I had never, at this time, roped anything big on Racetrack but he's what I was riding. I throwed a loop on her neck and let her get a front foot in with it so I wouldnt choke her. She was blind as a bat and came straight for us! I was pulling on ole Racetrack, trying to get him out of this cow's way because I know she couldn't see us. Ole colt wasn't scared... he stood there and when the cow got close, he just stepped outta the way. I dallied my nylon rope and we took the jerk pretty well. Ole colt just stood there like it was nothing! We finally got her doctored and got away from her.
My girls rode him and he was just a sweetheart with them. We had some friends that came over quite a bit and their little kids would ride Racetrack while our girls would lead him around. Those little kids would cry when their folks would make them get off of him so they could go home..
Their dad started wanting to buy him from me and by now I had another couple replacements so as the offer kept getting better, I started getting more in the mood to let him go. I sold him to them .. heck, ya can't keep em all. They kept him for a couple years and then they moved back east someplace. I had a chance to buy him back for a little less than I sold him for but, by then I had plenty horses. I think they ended up taking him to a Horse sale in la Junta..
Thanks for reading...