Reinhardt Family History

Memories of Eggs and Chickens

Stories from Neil Reinhardt

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Memories
of Eggs & Chickens

Charley Horse

Dad raised several colts. It was a very time-consuming job to train them. I can still see him with the colt on a long rope. He had a whip in one hand and the rope in the other. He made the colt go round and round in a circle and taught him to go when he said 'Giddyap' and stop when he said 'Whoa'.

One day dad bought a team of horses at a farm auction. The mare was with foal, and six months later a gangling mouse-colored colt was born. There is nothing more awkward looking than a new born colt, with knobby knees on legs that look too long for it's body.

A colt in our barn was something new. His mane was only an inch or two long, and his tail had just a little short curly hair on it. I did not think that he would ever have a long mane and tail like the rest of the horses. The only other newborns in the barn were calves or kittens. Everything in the barn had names. The colt's mother was named Dolly, and when it came to naming the colt, he was named Charley. Three calves in a pen were named Eenie, Meenie and Mynie. I don't know what happened to Moe.

About a month after Charley was born, his mother Dolly was needed to work in the field. Charley went along to the field, trotting at Dolly's side. When the horses were resting from the hard work, Charley had a chance to get his lunch.

When he was about four months old he was fitted with a halter, so he could be tied up or led around. This was his first lesson of many, before he could take his place working on the farm. When he was tied in his stall, however, he somehow could get his rope untied, so we made a knot he could not untie. He chewed on the rope until it broke. Next we got a new rope, and tied a knot so he could not get loose. We wet the knot good and put red pepper on it. No more trouble with Charlie getting loose.

Charley led a carefree life until he was two and one half years old. By that time his color had changed from a mouse color to a beautiful dapple grey, and he had a long mane and tail.

Now the serious training began. He was put on a long rope and with dad in the center, he went round and round in a circle. He soon learned to start at command and stop at the call of 'whoa'. One day a bridle with a bit was put on. Soon a harness was put on him and he was let stand in his stall, until he was accustomed to the rattle of chains, with a collar around his neck. Finally the big day arrived. He was paired with an older, gentler horse. Now he could be used for light work, and very soon he was doing his share of the farm work.

Unfortunately, his life was cut short in the prime of his life. He died from eating hay contaminated with botulism, a rare poison that develops in hay when it is being cured in the field.