Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Got A Tough Job? Get A Tonka . . .

I'd spotted the ad.  It's posting date had been about three weeks before Christmas.  Now here it was again.  Blinking, I re-focused my eyes.

Yup.  There it was again.  New post, new date.

He'd already caught my eye, this muscular beast of burden.  His height alone made me shiver.  17 hands?  That was some horse.  I'd not been near such a large equine since my cousin Brenda owned her Morgan, Doc.  That same Doc had managed to plow me face first into the snow and dirt one Nebraska winter.  I don't recall ever being on him again, although most likely, I was - after all, Dad taught me well:  if you fall off, get back on.

Secondly, what on earth kind of purpose could I . . . we . . . possibly have with a draft horse?  It seemed far fetched that I'd investigate.  But what was this?  "Rides well . . .with or without a bit, with or without a saddle."  "Gentle Giant" 

A well-trained horse was definitely on the table, as he'd be the horse for the GilGuy, an equine newbie.

Therefore, knowing that Gil wanted a large, well trained horse, I figured it couldn't hurt to at least look into this beast, just down the road a spell from our place.

Off I went, daring the sunny, noon time crispness in the air.


Bethany and I saw him at the same time.  We both gasped.  His physique towered over the woman handling him, yet, he handled like silk to her gentle touch.  Only a halter graced his head, and he waited patiently as we exited our vehicle.


I wasted no time.  Moving fluidly, but without hesitation or reservation, I began moving from the tip of his nuzzly soft nose to his front fetlocks; down his girth to his rear hooves.  Asking for each hoof to be lifted, the Gentle Giant was willing . . . but too my amazement, had such weight on those limbs that I could scarcely lift them!

I chuckled a bit to myself, then stepped back to get a full view.  He'd not flinched one bit.

Soon, a flurry of activity began around us.  A man, an adult daughter, two children, 10 and 3.  Chatter.  Laughter.  Seriousness.  Conversation.  The saddle.

Climbing aboard, each of us in turn, this hulk of a horse surprised me with his fluid movement beneath me.  I could scarcely believe it!  Only later would Bethany confirm she'd had the same experience, the Giant responding to her voice first and foremost, to her heels second, her hands third.  Hm.

We followed this unlikely find to the round pen, where he performed even further his fluidity of motion.  There was no escaping the rumbling of the earth beneath us as his hooves landed at the edge of each gaited step.

I could envision him - Tonka he'd been named, aptly so - working the fields, bearing the plow, gaining the clearing as a prize of his own making.  Having come from an Amish community to begin with, I supposed my musings weren't too far from the truth.  It could be advantageous, if one were in need of some heavy lifting, or burden bearing.  Giving this steed a job to do was the right thing for his mental and emotional health.

Never before had I entertained the idea of a work horse such as this, of owning a surry or a wagon . . . but suddenly it seemed feasible and right.  Tonka had completed his first heavy task:  that of gaining entry to my heart.

'It's not enough' - I shook the thoughts from my mind.  Too many variables and considerations to be put on the table.

As Bethany and I drove away, the Gentle Giant watching us go, I couldn't help but wonder if we'd see him again, or no . . .


Wendy said...

He's yours. Go get him.

Beth said...

I love him already! Go get him, he is yours for the taking.

I miss our MS friends so much! Maybe someday we will be back on The Coast.

~ Angi :) said...

You guys are toying with my emotions! LOL :D He is truly majestic and amazing. My concerns are minimal, but valid: 1. He'd be alone, literally, for a lengthy season. Alone on the property, alone socially. I don't desire to mess with his mental health. 2. As gentle/easy going as he is, he doesn't neck rein (a by product of having been driven). My thought is that a neck reigned-trained horse is the equivalent of an automatic vs a standard. Gil's best is for a completely automatic model. lol That said, he seems smart and as if he'd learn quickly. 3. Is it premature? Should we add to our stock first off, or get some tasks done before we go that route. The opposite of that, we could purchase a driving harness and put Big Guy to work, pulling logs, etc . . .

The final query? What does Gil say? He has yet to meet him, and that's the most important. :D

Anonymous said...

I love him from here!

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