Romeo was destined for greatness the day he hit the ground as a newborn colt. Perfectly made, his owner knew he had the makings of a premier stallion.
Rick carefully raised him to be an honest cowboy working horse as well as a show horse. He taught him manners and obedience. Romeo was hand-fed and groomed lovingly by Rick’s wife who assured the young stallion that he was indeed very special.
In the meantime, Rick’s friends had all been advised of Romeo’s wonderful conformation, attitude and abilities. As expected, Rick suddenly acquired an increased number of friends, certainly more than he had prior to this exceptional stallion coming of age.
Cowboys from miles around thought to help “ol’ Rick” out some by bringing their mares to the stallion. Their strategy was that they would help Rick get a few colts on the ground and get the stallion’s name out there. After all, what are friends for?
Of course, there would be no breeding fee involved with these friends’ mares, since they were in fact, doing Rick a big favor.
This was not Rick’s first load of pumpkins nor was he blind to the “helpfulness” of his buddies. He put a quick stop to their marketing plan. Instead, he advertised the beautiful Romeo, spent some time showing him at a few premier horse shows and soon paying customers were requiring Romeo’s services.
Romeo took this all in stride. But even with his impeccable manners, he had the inclinations of an alley cat He loved the ladies, and when none were brought around to his corral, he exercised his talent for jumping fences.
Romeo had acquired this special skill while Rick was doing some pasture roping on him.
Rick had the habit of cold trailing a sick calf far beyond the norm, just to make absolutely sure his rope would catch on the first throw. On one occasion, Romeo had sped up to the calf and thought it was just some obstacle to be jumped, and did.
He never did catch on to tracking cattle, just like Rick never caught on to throwing his loop when he had that first good shot. Horse and rider had somewhat of a hardheaded standoff going. But in the interim, Romeo fine-tuned his jumping skills.
Romeo would jump fences, cattle guards, gates and anything else between him and any mares pastured anywhere for miles around. The owners always called Rick to come get him after their mares were bred.
If the pasture was a little short on grass, Romeo would simply jump his way back home. His adventures did improve the general quality of the colts in the neighborhood.
At some point, Rick worried that Romeo could get hurt, and he had tired of his neighbors getting high-dollar colts for free.
Romeo was too valuable to geld, so he decided to use the stallion’s special jumping skills to an advantage. Rick called a friend in Houston, where those little postage-stamp sized saddles were known to be popular along with the people who professionally jumped obstacles.
The friend said he knew of a hunter-jumper competitor who was looking to buy a horse for his wife. In discussion with the jumping enthusiast, the single most important requirement in the transaction was that Romeo be friendly to females. Rick assured him in all sincerity and with perfect honesty, that Romeo absolutely loved the ladies.
Romeo now resides in one of the swankier sections of Houston and is enjoying himself greatly. He has discovered that not working for a cowboy for a living has its advantages, one being he has no more sick calves to hurdle.
Jumping those little fences for the lady in the saddle was indeed a promotion. So far, no tales of Romeo’s wanderings have filtered back to the Panhandle, but in the wind some days you can still hear, “Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo.”
Julie can be reached by calling into the wind or by [email protected]
Leota started working for The Independent in 2006, working her way up through the ranks. An employee buyout in 2010 led to her ownership of the newspaper. Leota has served on the board of the N.M. Press Association, and is currently its First Vice President. She is passionate about health and wellness, especially mental health, and loves making art. She can be reached at [email protected]om.