Thu, 04/21/2022 - 12:59pm admin
Sandy Whitaker, contributing writer
The way I remember it, names were omitted to protect the innocent (me) in case I remembered something wrong.
Loving horses the way I did, I was intrigued, several years ago, to see a young man often riding his large red stallion through Willow Springs.
One day he rode up to my house to admire my Foxtrotters. His horse was so magnificent, I had to admire his horse too. We visited for a while. I loved sharing how I purchased my mare. I felt as though God had dropped me in the middle of some of the best horses in Missouri and the owner told me to "pick out the one you want." We traded something I had acquired for $50 and i chose the best filly he had, valued at nearly $4,000. But that is another story.
This man, my kids nickname Brother Paul, (I don't know why) rode his horse because he didn't have any other transportation, his horse was both his friend and ride. His story was better than mine. He had seen an ad in the Willow Springs paper from a farmer stating, "Will the man who dropped the horse off on me, come and get it or it's going to the sale."
Curious about this, Brother Paul went to the farmer and asked about the horse. The farmer said, "I can’t legally sell it. Some stranger came through (Highway 60-63 went through downtown Willow back then) and asked to drop it off for a day or so and said he'd be back to get it."
It had been weeks (maybe months) and no one came to pick it up. He didn't want to care for it and had no way to contact the owner, so when Brother Paul asked if he could have it, he said, "Yes it's your responsibility now."
Horse and rider soon bonded and were together every day. All seemed well until the owner returned much later (months as I remember) to collect his horse. The farmer said he had given it to someone else to care for. Brother Paul was then approached and told to give the horse back.
Unwilling to give his friend away even though he was threatened to be arrested for stealing, the two men sought legal counsel. The irate owner shared how badly his valuable horse was treated and ridden by this thief, the wise legal advisor asked Brother Paul several questions.
The answers to, what kind of shots the horse had, how much shoes cost, where he boarded the horse, how much riding he did to train the horse, how much feed the horse consumed soon added up to quite a sum of money which the owner would have to pay for horse care and training. He would also have to pay court costs.
Angry and refusing to spend a dime on the horse, the owner left the horse behind once again.
Brother Paul and Red spent the next 23 years together until Red died of old age.
This is only part of a story. I'm sure has many more interesting events.
It was later suspected Red had actually been stolen, he may have been a racehorse and the real thief had to drop him off someplace until the trail grew cold. Rest assured, this horse probably had a much better life around Willow Springs than he may have had in his real home. Plus, several of his offspring are still around, probably in someone's backfield.