I named him Two Socks. Two Socks is an abandoned American Quarter Horse. He lives in a meadow-covered canyon in Northern California. The only herd that he is a part of belongs to a small band of black-tailed deer. They are his closest friends.
A rancher tried to shoot Two Socks eighteen years ago. When the shot was fired the horse found his freedom by jumping a barbed wire fence. That rancher sure missed his target, and Two Socks cruised right over that fence.
After hearing this story, I went looking for the horse and found him. Hours spent gaining one another’s trust paid off. We became friends. Four months have gone by since I first met Two Socks. He is a good teacher. The word “horsemanship” has new meanings. I have learned much from this horse.
In saying goodbye to Two Socks, I did two memorable things. I cut a lock of hair from his tangled mane and placed it in my pocket, then I cried. He stood as a bronze sculpture as I walked away.
The hair cut from Two Socks’ mane hangs in my horse trailer as a reminder that there are thousands of horses in America that are abandoned. Two Socks’ life span is short. We will most likely not see each other again. I will miss him.
The snow is melting in Montana. I am heading north.
Mark Pendl is traveling the byways of America in search of the perfect cowpony. He’s living off the land, and writing to share his adventures when he can. –Editor