He was an old man, 28 to be exact, when we first found him. The black mustang with a broad white stripe down his nose had ambled through the paddocks and gummed his hay for almost ten years at the rescue. Although his sway backed apperience deemed him a pasture pal, it was his crow hopping antics that landed him on the unrideable list. Neither of this deterred my mother’s love for the dark and handsome animal. So when the day came to take Cash and Zena home for the first time, we loaded Bozley right in behind them.
We knew that Bozley’s time under saddle was limited but he wasn’t ready for retirement just yet. This old campaigner still had the most important job any horse could have, to teach a little boy how to ride. His easy going nature and smooth gait made him the ultimate teacher, but his lessons were hard learned. One afternoon as we were out on trail, my nephew Taryn had just become comfortable riding off lead, and Bozley spooked. Taryn flopped in the saddle, his horse gave a little buck, and the boy somersaulted through the air landing on the ground in a belly flop. Taryn didn’t move and Bozley stood there staring at him, both a little stunned at the event. I jumped off my own horse and scooped him up in my arms. After a good long hug I asked him, “What do cowboys do when they get thrown from their horse?” He replied through big boy tears, “Get back on.” He wiped the dirt from his face, petted Bozley’s nose making them both feel a bit better, and got back on.
Now at 32 Bozley will still side step, gallop off, rub an unsuspecting knee on a tree or simply ignore my nephew. These are the lessons that any young man should be given. To persiveere through a difficult situation, to care for and communicate with another creature, and discover leadership. One day Taryn will out grow the aging horse and Bozley will live his golden years out in comfort because he earned it, but until then they are inseparable.
The old man is the barn favorite, even our stable manager Karl dotes on him. Although his sides have started to grey and his hay is served as a soaked mush, the old man still nips and plays with the other younger geldings. So as the old adage goes, “You are only as old as you feel.”