Baxter Black: The Spare Horse

“Come go with us, Cal,” invited Lee, “It’ll be a beautiful ride and Mel’s got a spare horse.”

‘A spare horse?’ pondered Cal, ‘as in extra like spare time, or thin like crow bait, or frugal as in sparingly, or duplicate as in spare part, or a horse that is called in when the ten pin is left standing?’

“Why not,” Cal agreed. Lee also assured him they had a spare saddle. They gathered in the scenic Wasatch Mountains in the shadow of Mt. Nebo. The spare horse turned out to be a good-sized bay mare… ‘Good,’ thought Cal, who weighs in at 250. Baxter Black

However the spare saddle that Mel brought was indeed spare. It had no back cinch, no breast collar and a narrow fork that didn’t fit the mare very well.

“I traded work for this spare saddle. Didn’t cost me a dime!” bragged Mel who was a lug tightner at Big O Tire.

Lee held the mare’s lead rope tight as Cal began his ascent of the 16 hands mare. Left foot in the stirrup, hands on the horn he placed his weight to spring. The saddle slipped to port. Mel stepped in to help just as Cal’s right foot arked up from the ground. The heel of his right Justin Roper, at roughly the speed of sound, made solid contact with the fork of Mel’s family tree.

Mel barked like a dog and dropped to his knees.

The mare spooked and pulled back on the lead rope. It burned through Lee’s hands, peeling an ear-sized chunk of hide off his palm and fingers. He wailed like a tom cat with his tail caught in the door.

The mare bolted and Cal was left behind suspended in mid-air, levitating horizontally for a microsecond. One almost expected a magician to appear and run a hoop over his body to prove there were no wires.

Alas, the micro second ended. Cal fell like a roll of wet carpet and landed flat on his back with a thud. He never bounced. The rest of the crew was too impaired from laughing to help him up. When he finally got his wind back enough to sit up, Mel was standing semi-erect and Lee was licking his palm.

“You still wanna ride?” asked Lee.

“It depends,” said Cal.

“You could ride my other horse,” offered Mel.

“Is it a spare horse?” asked Cal suspiciously.

“No,” said Mel, contemplating his answer, “I would say it is a primary animal.”

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