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Tezza and the Freight Train

Posted by greygelding , 03 August 2017 · 310 views


Our corrals were either pipe or 3 strand smooth wire. There's something within me that finds an animal in need hard to resist so it wasn't long before a burro, Jennifer, came into out lives. We put her in with Tezza and they quickly became fast friends. When I would take Tezza for a short ride Jennifer would follow along loose. It wasn't long before she taught Tezza a new trick. We came home from work and both were out of their corral happily munching on the hay stack. I put them away and before long they were both out again. Once again they were back in their shared corral and I waited and watched. Within a few minutes Jennifer approached the fence wire. Getting down on her belly she slithered under the wire and was out. Right behind her came Tezza. She was quite a bit bigger so it was a tight fit, but ignoring the wire stretched over her back, she did her best burro imitation and crawled out. I didn't even know horses could crawl but this one could. I immediately moved them into two pipe corrals assured that they were securely contained. Now these corrals were pieced together. They were poorly made in the first place with the poles over one another instead of cut and fit so the welds would break. I used bailing wire to hold them together. The "gates" were the same way and because of the bailing wire you had to rotate the poles while sliding them in order to move them. They weren't easy to slide and with the rest of the herd they proved to be horse proof. Of course Tezza was another story. Coming home one day Pam found the the two juvenile delinquents missing and someone had slid the gate poles on both corrals off to the side. She tracked them to a neighbors house about one hale mile away where they were snacking on one of their bales of hay. Fortunately the neighbors had a good sense of humor and all was forgiven when we agreed to replace the hay bale. Putting a halter on Tezza, Pam mounted bareback, and riding her with Jennifer following she took them home. We wondered who would let then out and why, after all horses can't slide the poles, could they? I replaced the gates with normal gates with locks and hoped for the best. The next morning I heard a minor commotion and Tezza was out again, the corral side pipes were out of place. Someone or something had slid them sideways and she was out again. As I watched she approached Jennifer's corral and grabbed the fence pipe in her mouth. Moving her head in a motion that rotated the pipe slightly she was able to slide the pole enough so the burro could escape and together they proceeded to the hay stack for snacks. After letting them munch for awhile so they could reap the benefits of their actions I returned them to their respective corrals and made improvements to the fence. It was a simple cure of just adding another piece of wire at each joint in a crisscross pattern so no matter which way the pole was moved the wire would bind it in place.


From the ranch one could look down across the desert and see train tracks and Tezza could be found gazing in that direction whenever a train would be passing. They were far enough away that the trains could barely be heard in e distance and while we knew exactly what they were apparently she didn't. I had no idea how much she wanted to see one up close and personal but I was about to find out. After over three years of watching for her big chance it had arrived and she wasn't going to miss it. Pam was riding Bo while I was on Tezza enjoying a nice afternoon ride when I could hear a freight train coming up behind us. They would move along at a rapid clip across the desert and you could hear them for quite a ways. We were on a trail up the hill from the tracks riding parallel to them. Bo had seen trains before so there was no worry there. He was nervous around them, easily controllable, and wanted nothing to do with them. I was curious what Tezza would do, took a firm grip on the reins, sat deep in the saddle, and was prepared for anything, or so I thought. What happened next took both Pam and I totally by surprise. The train had slowed some as it passed through the town and had not throttled up yet but it was still moving faster than a horse could trot but Tezza decided that she would give it her best shot. First she stopped to watch it approach and as the rumbling, ground shaking locomotives passed, she started to trot with it. Bo was quite content to stand and watch it go by but Pam wanted to watch Tezza's reaction so they followed. We came to a branch in the trail which lead down the hill to a trail right next to the train tracks. Tezza wanted to take this trail, and curious as to when she would stop, I let her. Delighted she extended her trot and we were now riding next to the train. Bo meanwhile wanted nothing to do with it and being a lot smarter than I am, Pam agreed so they stayed on the upper trail. Tezza started drifting closer and closer to the rumbling mass she was pursuing, which was making me nervous. I let her inch closer and closer until she was almost within reach. When she stuck her nose out to actually touch it I decided that enough was enough. Gently reining her to the right away from danger and bringing her to a stop, she stood still, head up, nostrils flared watching it pass and finally disappearing in the distance.
"Was she actually going to touch it?" Pam inquired.
"I think so by I lost my nerve and turned her away. I couldn't take the chance of her getting hurt. Too risky".
We finished our ride and Tezza seemed quite pleased to finally have gotten close enough to see what it was that rumbled across the desert twice a day. I was, and still am, amazed that a horse would be curious and brave enough to approach a moving freight train let alone try to touch it.

Mounted Posse

While living in the Barstow area we joined the mounted posse. Occasionally we would be called to assist in a lost person search or to help search an area for evidence. One weekend the whole posse was gathered for just such a search when it received a lost child call. The desert is not a nice place to be lost in as the summer temperatures can exceed 125 degrees with little or no shade around. When someone is lost it takes time for the posse members to get home, load the horses and gear, and arrive at a staging area. This time was the pleasant exception. The horses were still in their trailers so about half of the posse was immediately dispatched for the search which was just a few miles away. The response was so quick that the child was found in short order and a happy family reunion was at hand. I wish they all could be like that.

July 2018

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