Monday, May 20, 2013

Pioneer rancher credits horse with saving his life

...You'd have to go all the way back to the 1800s to come to a full appreciation of the bond between man and horse in West Texas. Stories abound of the bonds formed between horses and their riders in the earliest days of history and Midland was certainly no exception. There wasn't a race involved, nor was there a game of polo that strengthened the ties, but simply a story of survival and instinct -- one wrong and one right. It was 1888, and pioneer rancher O.B. Holt found himself in a brutal blizzard unable to judge distance or direction because of the wintry conditions. In an interview with J. Evetts Haley in 1927, now in the Haley Memorial Library archives, Holt explained his dire, near death experience and how he showed gratitude to the horse that saved his life. "I have been lost in snow storms to where I gave up," Holt told Haley. "I had one horse that saved my life." Holt spoke of how, being unable to determine his whereabouts, he tried to guide his mount in a direction opposite from where shelter was. The snow was a foot deep and when night hit Holt guessed he was about 10 miles from his ranch. "I tried to pull him in one direction but he kept wanting to go in another," Holt said. "I finally gave him his head. I could hardly get off him when he reached camp. I had two little rooms and opened the door and let him in. The first thing I did was throw a suggan (covering) over him. I took him into the kitchen, pulled off the saddle and kept him there all night." When he sold his ranch, he gave the buyers everything -- except the horse. He would keep it another 25 years...more

Tim Cox "No Matter The Weather"

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