HORSE TRAINING 101 by Sandy Seaton Sallee


photo © Sue Johnson; request permission for use

by Sandy Seaton Sallee

I was cruising through the want ads
Of the Mini Nickel rag
When I spied a real bargain
I ain’t talkin’ ’bout no nag

He’s a thoroughbred and Arab
With some walkin’ horse as well
Just a touch of Morgan breeding
And some Paso, too, to sell

A quarter part is quarter horse
A sixteenth Appy blood
With all those shining qualities
This horse could be my bud.

So I called the gal who owned him
This future dream of mine
He’s three, he’s green, he’s still a stud
But he’s priced one ninety-nine.

No, that’s not a misprint
This steed was good as bought
For just two hundred bucks, less change
A deal was what I got.

I brought young Lucky home that day
A wee bit hard to load
We couldn’t get him in the stocks
But how that fine horse towed!

It wasn’t far back to my place
Just as well for him
His feet wore down right to the quick
An automatic trim.

You might think that he’s no steal
You’ve always been a cynic
When I am through he’ll be a champ!
I’ll take him to a clinic.

For doubling my purchase price
We’d learn to trailer load
A couple hundred dollars more
This green horse could be rode!

A clinic then for round corrals
We circled ’til I’m dizzy
But how that horse can run that fence
He’s kept me real busy.

And then I paid to cut him
‘Fore I joined the cuttin’ class
He’s working cows in fine corrals
He’ll spin and slide and pass

But still he needs arena time
For just five hundred more
A week long barrel school for us
Just leaves me wanting more—

I’ll work two jobs! I’ll sell my truck
I’ve got to pay for schoolin’
A leading clinic, kicking clinic,
Striking, biting, that’s no foolin’—

I’ll train him not to run away
For just three hundred more
Penning clinic cost two fifty
But we’re smarter than before.

So many kinds of roping schools!
There’s calf, and ranch and team
Lucky and I took them all
We’re ropin’ like a dream.

We even did the “Vets on Pets”
I saved some money there!
It cost me some, but now I know
To give my horse home care.

A packin’ school! A doggin’ school!
There’s even one for mules
‘Course they won’t let ol’ Lucky in
Said we’d just look like fools.

Well, finally we hit them all
We’d clinic’d with the best
And I was proud my little horse
Had stood up to the test.

‘Tween clinics and the traveling
And troubles ‘long the way
I figured my investment then
Was just about to pay—

A stranger asked to buy my horse!
I sold him in a flash
‘Cause I DOUBLED what I’d paid for him
I got four hundred cash.

© Sandy Seaton Sallee
This poem should not be reposted or reprinted without permission

Montana poet, horsewoman, and outfitter Sandy Seaton Sallee grew up in Yellowstone National Park, where she rode horseback among the elk and drove four-up stagecoaches. After cowboying in New Mexico, she returned to her native Montana where she met her future husband, Scott Sallee, in a wilderness hunting camp. Sandy and Scott now own and operate Black Mountain Outfitters, a wilderness and ranch outfitting business and Yellowstone trout fishing’s Slough Creek Outfitters, the only tent camp site permitted on Slough Creek in the Gallatin National Forest.

A frequent performer at cowboy poetry gatherings, she has a recent book, Magic Montana, which includes her words and photos by her and by Scott Sallee.

This photo of Sandy is by her sister, Sue Johnson.

Find more about Sandy Seaton Sallee at