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TALES FROM THE BARK SIDE
October, 06 2007

Welcome back to the bark side of life here in Ottertail where the barking these days is emanating from our garage. A seven-week old litter of German Shepherd pups definitely qualifies as an addition to the Rosswood choir. These adorable puppies are the junior chorale. They are just finding their voice and are practicing on each other as they play.

I've heard it more than once (the same goes for kittens, too). If only they could stay this age. Since I'm the head scooper, I don't quite agree with that sentiment.

This week, I have a tale about a horse, a man, a lake and an ego equaling the size of all three. Kaie Buendiger of Ottertail fame shared this terrific tale with me some time ago. It's still as relevant today as it was then. Here's a horse tale.

It was mid summer of 1999 and it was hot and humid and just a perfect day to go horseback riding. Kaie has horses of various ages and temperament and she invites friends to go riding with her and sometimes these rides are long and arduous. These trips require more than just a modicum of experience in the saddle and for the average person it becomes quite a challenge.

It seems a friend of hers came down from Alaska to visit and upon his arrival, he professed to be an excellent horseman and to give him the most spirited horse and he would show everybody how great he was in the saddle.

I asked Kaie if the word “arrogant” described her visitor from the Klondike and she smiled and said “quite accurately.” Have you noticed that I haven't mentioned the horse's name yet?

This lovely mare was named Her Gale Gypsy and was 16 years old at the time and had quite a personality for a pure bred quarter horse. She stills loves to go riding to this day and probably will for some years to yet come. Kaie lived near Underwood on Horseshoe Lake, residing on Pony Road. (I'm not making up these names, trust me).

These equestrian adventures would start at Horseshoe Lake and would arrive at Rush Lake 16 miles later. The horses and rider would refresh themselves and then head back again. My posterior gets sore just thinking about that much bouncing in the saddle. I don't ride for that exact reason.

It seems our arrogant visitor was just bragging to beat the band about how he had Gypsy under control and what a superior horseman he was when they reached Rush Lake. Yadda, yadda,yadda, yadda. Gypsy headed straight for the water and drew up on her hind legs like “Trigger” and began splashing water with her forelegs.

Mr. Braggadocio was hanging on for dear life when Gypsy decided she was in deep enough water to roll over and truly cool off. He went flying one way and Gypsy had herself a good cooling off rinse, undulating back and forth from right to left.

With dripping hat in hand he waded back to shore with his brand new boots full of water. Sitting there, pouring water out of the boots, his entire new wardrobe soaking wet, he proclaimed he wasn't getting back on that !@#$%^ horse.

Kaie told me that she informed him it was either walk or get back on the horse that brought him there. He finally got back on Gypsy and I believe the ride back was quieter than the one coming over. Horses are fantastic animals that are in a class by themselves.

Sometimes life just seems to deliver social justice just when it's needed the most. I wonder if the life lesson taught here by Gypsy ever got through to our Alaskan horseman. Careful what you wish for and be twice as careful what you proclaim, it may come back to dunk you in the lake of life. Thanks, Kaie for the great story.

I still smile when I read her tale. Humility can be found in the most unexpected places and delivered by the most unusual messenger.

The “best critter tale” contest is winding down and if any of you readers have procrastinated about sending in a story, now is the time to submit it. E-mail me at info@rosswoodkennels.com or write a letter to me at Keith Ross, Richville MN 56576. You can also phone me at 218-495-2195.



Credit : Keith Alan Ross writes from his New York Mills home.


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