I love Laura's tips on finding a bombproof horse. She had some sound ideas and a good definition of what the term bombproof means.
She was also careful to point out all horses can spook, jump, maim or mutilate. OK, I added the last few words but you get my drift.
My daughter's good mare Annie was everything you could look for in a bombproof horse.
She had carried both of us through the mountains on more than one three day trip at our ranch.
I had ridden her for several years and knew every tick, every tock and trusted the steady reliability that shone in her eyes 100 percent.
She was the kind of horse I could ride several miles from home, alone, to fix fence. I could get down, drop my reins, unload my gear and go to work. She would graze, or doze in the sun, but she never left.
She was never rattled, only became angry if you tried to keep her in a stall or run and I had only seen her spook once. It was the year of the Haymen fire and she could smell it traveling towards her. She ran to me and stayed close. That was it.
When my daughter was two she was sitting on Annie's back. I looked the other way for a split second and Annie shook like a wet dog. My twig of a daughter flew through the air and landed in a very prickly bush.
I ran and picked her up, half laughing, half panicked. Annie came over and nuzzled my sobbing daughter all over. She didn't take her muzzle off the kidlette until she quit crying.
Annie was a school horse for me for many years. She truly lit up when she was with children. She walked as if she was carrying a carton of eggs with the newbies and would lope a barrel pattern when they were ready.
I had complete faith in her when my daughter took her over. Annie was the ultimate definition of bombproof.
When the kidlette was 8 or 9 we trailered to the Garden of the Gods park to go on a trail ride.
We all unloaded out horses in front of the Rock Ledge Ranch and were tacking up.
Suddenly Annie lost her mind. She was snorting, blowing and jumping back and forth. The kidlette jumped out of the way, her saddle went flying and her pad slid under Annie's leaping feet.
I walked over to see what the ruckus was about. I'll admit, I said, "What did you do?" to my daughter. I knew my darling Annie couldn't be at the bottom of this.
Annie was really going nuts.
I followed her line of sight and realized she was freaking at the sight of the ranch caretaker, Andy, with his team of Belgians and their wagon.
Annie was horrified.
"Just ignore her, she'll put it together in a second," I said.
I was wrong.
As the wagon and team came closer Annie threw herself back, snapped her lead rope and took off. Towards the wagon.
She circled Andy and his team at a high trot, with her tail straight in the air.
I had to stop and admire for a second, she was probably 24 or so, and she looked absolutely beautiful.
I snapped out of it when Andy yelled at me. Annie was thinking of charging the team, she had her ears pinned and was darting in at them.
We ran in and began shouting and waving our arms at her. She just ducked us and kept running at the team. The Belgians were starting to get snorty.
"Go back to your trailer and I'll head back to the barn, maybe she'll go back to your horses," Andy called.
He was right. As soon as he was out of range Annie came trotting back, snorting and looking quite proud of herself.
We never did figure out why she hated wagons so much, she did the same thing a few years later at an AQHA show when the driving class began to warm up.
I was using a stouter lead rope by then and we were able to hang on to her. All I know was my gentle, reliable, bomb proof horse seemed to have a little German Shepherd attack dog in her.
And then there was that problem she had with ponies.....