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Impulse purchases

Erica Louder for Progressive Forage Published on 04 February 2021

Last month, Bill lost one of his prized Tennessee Walkers to sudden colic. Like most Idahoans with horses, he’d grown up with quarter horses and taught his own kids to ride on quarter horses. In his late-middle years, his good friend and hunting buddy, Don, introduced him to the gaited horse. One smooth gaited ride and he was converted.

The first pair he bought off an old lady in Washington State. Then, with his palate wetted, he bought three more from a breeder in California. So, when Calamity Jane took ill, it was with considerable angst for she was his favorite out of the five, and like it is with horses, she had been the most expensive.

His veterinarian-son treated Calamity, but all that would have saved the creature was a surgery where the outcome might have been the same. He thought about her for a couple of days and started some Craigslist searches in an attempt to replace her, but, eventually, he shut down the browser to mourn her quick rhythmic steps and shiny black mane.

It was in this somber frame of mind that he went to the Emmett sale yard the next week to purchase some calves to feed. After he’d finished purchasing all the calves he needed, he sent his grown son, Nate, out to get the pickup and trailer and pull it around. Not one to miss a good auction, Bill decided to stay on and watch the rest of the sale finish. They were to the scratch and dent stuff, when Bill found his hand in the air, bidding on a group of desert-bred yearling foals. One in the group reminded him, from the distance of the sale ring to his bleacher seat, just a bit of his lost Tennessee Walker. In less than five minutes, he had purchased five green quarter horses for the price of $120 per head.

His blood still pumping the adrenaline of the auction, Bill called his daughter Erica with the great news. He’d got a heck of a steal on some horses and now they had a great family project. Now, Erica is no great cowgirl herself but is the mother of two pretty tough cowgirls. Grandpa said the buckskin filly and the bay gelding would be a perfect project for his little cowgirls. Out loud, Erica agreed but silently mused that it might be more reasonable if we were talking about cowgirls who were 18 and 15, not eight and five.

Truthfully, Erica has little concept of the value of horses, but she reckons that this impulse purchase to replace one fancy gaited horse with five indian reservation yearlings, while initially much cheaper, might end up costing the Ramsey and Louder households much, much more. Maybe not in actual dollars and cents, but in pride and common sense.  end mark

PHOTO: Photo by Erica Louder.

Erica Louder is a freelance writer based in Idaho.

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