Early May 1992, twenty-five years since leaving Boy Horse
and Taffy, I was ready to once again own a horse. I began this
quest during social hour at Good Shepherd Lutheran in nearby
Edgewood. This was a good place to start because half the congregation
Most notable was Al Miller, sometimes farrier and outfitter.
"Outfitting" is the business of guiding people into
the backcountry in pursuit of elk, deer, trout, or just plain
excitement. Some folks said Al's expeditions got too exciting.
Like the time in the Pecos that Al and his horse got swept down
a raging stream. The horse got out a bend or two down the torrent
earlier than Al. But, heck, he wasn't too much the worse for
This isn't the kind of excitement people look for in an outfitter.
They prefer a ten point elk or three. So money had gotten scarce.
He and his wife Mary lost their land and went saddle tramping.
His latest gig was on a ranch south of Vaughn, about 100 miles
Al seemed like the right guy to ask about horses.
"What color horse do you want?" he said.
"Color?" For once, I wanted a horse that would make
other people ooh and ahh. I wanted a Palomino Peruvian Paso.
Yeah, right. One of those would cost as much as we paid for our
ten acres. "I don't care what color. I need something for
Al allowed as how the ranch he worked had too many cow horses.
The owner had told him to sell some. $800 a head. I said I'd
think about it.
Tuesday, May 12th, I saw an ad for two mares for $550 each.
now that was more in my price range: as cheap as possible. We
weren't exactly rich folks, oh, well. So with daughters Virginia
and Valerie (then 12 and 13), and neighbor Dorothy Stender and
her home-schooled daughter Diana (11), we headed out to see them.