Of Horses and Hogs

Many years ago when I was just a "young pup", i was living on a farm we rented. My dad had a good horse to work our cows but could not afford to buy me one at the time. Our land lord owned the farm next to us and had 3 boys and a herd of horses. His boys and I would always go horseback riding through the woods and river bottoms together.

On the occaisions we rode, I would always have to ride one horse, a strawberry roan quarter horse with a very bad disposition. It soon became a "love/hate" relationship between the horse and I!

I named this onnery cuss of a horse "sugar foot" because of the 3 white stockings on his feet. He would swell up with air when I put the saddle and girth on him then let out air as I mounted, allowing the saddle to slip and me to fall. Kicking him in the gut as I cinched the girth tight became a regular ritual!

When you mounted up, you had better have a hand full of saddle horn and hang on! He would buck for a minute or two and if he did not throw you, he would settle down. If you hit the ground, you got back on and he would start it all over again!

Our landlord told me that if I could break him of bucking I could have him! I tried breaking him in a pond, almost everything, nothing worked. I was in Mexico and bought some spurs with mexican rawls (very sharp and pointed) I hate hurting a horse but I got on him and when he bucked, I raked him from shoulder to flank, drawing blood. After that he never once bucked again in his life and we became best freinds. I worked with him so I could shoot a gun while riding him and we became quite proficient at riding up deer and killing them.

Over the years we hunted and rode together, boy and horse building a very close relationship. One year when we were hunting in the Cocodrie Swamp near Monterey La. we had a very bad experience. They were logging and clearing our lease for soybean fields. It was our last year to hunt this property.

On one hunt, I had strayed far from the general area we were hunting that morning and found myself back in the swamp where the cutting had ended. I heard the deer dogs running and headed to cut them off. They bayed so I located them and rode up to them. Where they had used a dozer to push up the logs into a pile, the dogs had a huge boar hog bayed. I rode up between two logs and stood in the stirrups to get a shot at the hog over my horses head (I put cotton in Sugar Foots ears to protect them from the gun raport).

About the time I had a shot that would not hit one of my dad's dogs, the boar broke through and charged Sugar Foot and me. I had been standing on my toes in the stirrups and decided to dive off the horse over one of the tree trunks. I hit the ground rolling and saw the hog hit my horse in the brisket and try to go under him. Sugar Foot went down on the huge boar and the dogs attacked the boar once again.

The boar backed out from under my horse slashing with his tusks as he went. I jumped up on a log and tried to shoot him when I realized my .44 rifle was covered with mud, checking the barrell I found it to be plugged. I pulled out my old .44 Blackhawk pistol and shot the boar between the eyees. When I pulled the trigger, his head came up and the bullet actually ricocheted off his skull! The shock made him drop his head and my next shot centered right between his eyees, dropping him dead as the 240 grain hollow point entered his skull and did it's job.

I got down and went to my horse, he was in terrible shape. The boar had gutted him from the brisket to his abdomen. Every string in the girth but one had been cut! There was no way to get a jeep and a trailer to the horse so I had to do the right thing.

With tears in my eyes and a large lump in my throat, I knelt by my hard headed steed and freind, gently rubbed his head as I watched his eyees wide in pain, and placed the barrell of my pistol over his forehead, and pulled the trigger. I was a tough lad but I sat on the log for about an hour a cried over my loss.

Eventually I got up, finished cutting the girth, and hung my saddle on a limb, and started walking out. I told my dad what happened that evening and we decided to take two horses in the next day and get my saddle. My dad felt my loss also, put a hand on my shoulder, gave me a manly pat, then went on to give me some more time alone.

I rode bareback the next morning with an extra girth, got my saddle on the big dun I rode in on. My dad told me that was the biggest boar he had ever seen and estimated the weight at over 600 pounds. I told him I wanted the hog so we each threw a rope on, dallied the ropes off on our saddle horns, and tried to let our horses drag it out! Both horses were over 16 hands and after about 100 yards, they were winded!

Dad told me the boar was not fit to eat but I was not to be put off! I got down, cut his head off and removed the backstrap from one side. We got to the camp and tried to cook the backstrap and it stunk so bad you had to get upwind of the skillet! Here was another lesson well learned!

I took the head home with it's huge and bristling tusks, tied some wire to it and staked it out in a huge fire-ant pile. They quickly mounded over it and I left it there all winter until June. I removed it and found it devoid of meat and gristle. I washed it, poured bleach on it, and placed it on the tin roof of a shed to whiten in the sun.

Late that summer, I hung the skull on the wall of the carport by our entrance door (just like redneck) so everyone could see it. Some years later my brother was playing basketball with a freind and it got knocked off the wall, breaking the lower jaw loose.

Over the years it just disappeared, I wish I had it today! But I still think of Sugar Foot everytime I see another horse or think of the big boars skull and tusks!

by: Rajun Cajun

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