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My First Horse

Catchin’ Integrity
July 2, 2022
The Rest Of The Rodeo
October 25, 2022

Everybody remembers his or her first love, first car and, of course, first horse.  Like most kids, I loved horses and wanted one even though we didn't live on a ranch and we had no place to keep one. Reason is commonly overwhelmed by passion.

There was a man who would periodically lead his pony through our neighborhood charging a quarter for a sit and walk around by lead rope. My folks never coughed up the quarter so I never actually rode that pony but I did follow him around the neighborhood, salivating and "breathing-horse".  It was a black and white pinto. I guess that's where my love for paint horses began; or maybe it was Tonto's Scout that turned my head towards painted horses. I knew nothing of tobiano vs, overo let alone paint vs. pinto. I just wanted one.

In truth, although I worked on a horse ranch throughout my teens, I didn't actually get my own first horse until I was an adult and I've never owned a paint or pinto. But Jack Sorenson's Rockwellian painting, "Better Than School", inspired me to document my childhood fantasy - even if he painted a bay.


My First Horse

Well he weren't much to look at
Having a plain color and a too-short tail
Along with the dreaded four white feet
No wonder he'd been up for sale!

Dad had birthday-bought him for me
From some touristy, horse-rental place
He had more’n his share of bad habits
To go along with his Roman-nose face

But that little gelding was mine by golly  
He galloped into my life, changin' everything
I'd run to him each mornin' and after school
I full-on loved him more than anything

It was a deep, consuming, heartfelt love
I curried and hoof-picked way beyond need
Pampering on and doting over
This king, my personal mighty steed

He'd come home from that dude-stable
With the silly name of Buckaroo
I promptly renamed him my Pardner
Anticipatin’ all we were gonna’ go through

I felt such joy just being 'round him
When Dad allowed, I'd sleep in his stall
He made me feel simultaneously little and big
Though he was only fourteen hands tall

I guess I just needed a friend
I'd sit rapt, listenin' to him eat
Bringing him apples and sugar
Lordy but he made my heart beat!

He wasn't exactly a sweet boy
But I surely believed he was back then
Cuz all that ornery and misbehavin'
Ain't obvious to a boy first-horsin’ at ten

That gelding was actually pretty sour
From being ridden by strangers every day
But as a new-horse kid I didn't really care
He was my personal, high-country getaway

Each time I'd get him tacked and settled
After maybe buckin' me a time or two
We'd come again to an understandin'
At least until he'd up and try something new

Once he'd finally get it through his head
We weren't headed to the barn anytime soon
He'd stretch out for the tall and uncut
Bringin' us home late under the shinin' moon

Mom and Dad must'a trusted Pard
Letting us ride so far, wide and late
We owned thousands of acres to roam
Beyond the arched, ranch-yard gate

Our place was far from town or neighbors
I hadn't any friends with which to play
So Pard was my loyal, steady friend
I'd speak, and he'd respond with a neigh

I was old enough to start workin’ cows
So Pard and I helped Dad tend our herd
We learned our ropin' skills together
He was natural cow-savvy without sayin’ a word

He loved to swim in the Rio
Which we often did after a day's work
You might say he was like my dog
I'd ask him a question and his head’d quirk

Teachin’, stumblin’ and growin’ useful
After a coupla’ years he finally hit his stride
As a team we sorta’ lurched into maturity
For years we achieved anything we tried

I think sometimes ‘bout our partnered miles
We didn’t actually ride quite everywhere
But the good Lord knows for a fact
It weren’t for lack of tryin’ to get there

Well, Pard died while I was off to college
Trottin' off to those green pastures in the sky
Goodbye my teacher and loyal companion
I trust we'll meet up yonder bye and bye

by Rik Goodell

© 2022. All rights reserved


I am grateful to Jack Sorenson for his allowing me, one more time, to post his skilled, western art alongside mine. 

To see more of his work, go to his website:

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