Who Decides When A Horse Is No Longer Useful? Pie’s Story

by Kandy Kay Scaramuzzo.

This is the story of a 25-year-old ranch horse that was injured and pretty much left to die. He was brought to a stable and sold even though no one really expected him to survive. HePie an old brown horse book was reborn into a merchant of hope. His amazing spirit and calmness have helped many people over the next 13 years as he became the most amazing mentor and therapy horse. This is Pie's story as he tells it about the most amazing chance at life and his travels through it. You will meet his person, a shy young girl, and the other horses and people who helped shape his journey. This is a feel good book.

I helped an old rescued ranch horse write this book. He needed help with the computer. It is his story about all the amazing things he has done since he was rescued. The amazing part is that he is still with us, today, at the ripe old age of 38!

An excerpt from Pie An Old Brown Horse (That Knows What He Is Doing) by Kandy Kay Scaramuzzo.

"Ouch", now that one smarted a bit. I really don't know why he has to throw things. A boot, (really?), you could really injure someone doing that kind of thing. I know, I get it; he doesn't want me to tear up another youngster... what he doesn't understand is these young horses need to be put in their places early or they will become uncontrollable. That old cowboy will be yelling for an entirely different reason when one of these youngsters dumps him in a cactus patch because he doesn't know his proper place in the herd.

That is where I come in. I was bought and brought to this place for the express purpose of working cattle and to help train the new stock. I have been at this for a long time in horse years. Most horses are gone by the time they hit their late teens. I just hit my 25th birthday and I am still going strong. This is my third ranch and I am pretty good at what I do, even if it does seem a bit brutal to the people portion of this operation.

In the herd world, if an elder looks your way, you back up and give them the space or food or whatever it is they are eyeing. Horses don't communicate with words. We use gestures and noises, but not to the excess unless necessary. People sometimes just don't understand. That is why I am being yelled at now and being used as a boot target. (He is going to wish he hadn't thrown that when he sees what a big pile of stuff it landed in. Ha!) The drover thinks I chased down and kicked the snot out of the youngster for no reason.

That was not the case. I turned and slowly gave him a look that he did not heed. I gave him a second chance with the pinned ears, but he was being stubborn or he is just slow. Anyway, after he refused to comply, I chased him to the corner of the corral and kicked him until he squealed in defeat. Then I walked up and bit him nicely on the rump leaving a rather large hole just for good measure. Now the next time he gets the look, he will back away like he is supposed to do...

The drover gets mad when I do corrective teaching. He says I make them sore and tear them up so they can't work. I disagree. They have just as much control over the kicking part as I do. It depends on how long they wait to give in, as to when I stop. The bit is very carefully placed on the back end. No one puts a saddle back there, so there is no reason why they can't work.

Sometimes I think they just get upset because their pretty little cowpony has an ugly sore on his rear end. You would not believe how much some of these people tie their egos into their horses. They will go out and buy a nice looking horse to work cattle, never mind that doesn't know a thing about wrangling. Most of them have never seen a live cow, much less a bull.

This is kind of a personal issue for me. I was never considered a good looking and in my younger days I was always passed over for the prettier mounts. I'm not ugly, just not flashy. I am long and lanky, covered in a very short strange colored chestnut coat. It is the color of lake sand. I do have a nice long mane and tail that are tinged in red and black. Some say I am an appendix quarter horse and others say I'm a grade quarter horse. One thing no one can dispute as I get older is that I am a cattle working fiend.

I've been loaded in many trailers with different horses and taken to a variety of cattle related jobs. I always looked forward to these trips because they meant a chance to show off my skills and earn my keep. An old horse that I knew in my younger days said to never load in a trailer alone. There are no good cattle jobs where only one horse is required. He said those that loaded by themselves whether they were older, younger, hurt, or just loco, never came back. One day they forced him on a trailer by himself. He looked back at me with a sad look. I nickered for him and he nickered back as they drove him away. I never saw him again. To this very day, I will not load in a trailer by myself; I don't care how much you beat me or try to bribe me.

It appears that while I was disciplining the young ones and the wranglers were playing their version of chunk the boot, one of the three massive bulls they had put in a temporary pen managed to get out. The beast was enormous and mean. He charged everything including the fence holding the horses. This absolutely terrified the young horses. The only thing on their minds was to get out of Dodge as quickly as possible. This mindset made it impossible for the wranglers to catch them. Normally in a situation like this, it takes two wranglers on two horses to catch a bull of this size without endangering either the horses or the riders. I was the only one cooperating, so I was taken to catch the bull. I did my job like I had done many times, covering the bull so the wrangler could get a rope on him. The bull was fast and having no part of getting caught. He knew how to us those massive sharp horns of his, and he did not hesitate to use them to aid in his escape.

The wrangler that was riding me was good, but he wasn't one of the best ropers and he kept missing all those golden moments I gave him to put the rope on that beast. He seemed to be irritating the animal more than anything else. Finally, after slapping the bull in the face with the noose, the giant had all he could take. He swung around and came right at us. The wrangler panicked and slammed the rope, not on the bull, but right in my face. I caught rope square in one of my eyes. It was gushing blood and I could not see out of it at all. Now horses have amazing vision and outstanding maneuverability, unless they are injured. I was completely blind on one side and I felt the beast's breath on my side. I jumped to the other side. He obviously anticipated this move and it was then that he got me. One of those massive horns went gliding right into my hip, tearing through muscle and catching on the bone.

At this point, the wrangler either jumped or fell off and left me to my own preservation. Unable to see the bull and being attached head to hip like we were, I knew I had to do something. His rear was right at my face so I started biting and tearing chunks of hide off his back end. He screamed in pain and threw his head up and bellowed. He lifted my back end off the ground and shook his head. I kept biting him and kicking him in the face. This caused him to react more violently and, as his body convulsed, he actually threw me across the paddock. I landed in a crumpled heap tangled in the fence and my saddle riggings. I was trying desperately to get up as he set his sights for one last run at me.

While the battle raged, the oldest wrangler ran in the barn and came back with a cattle prod and a rifle. As the bull snorted and pawed and lined up for his final charge on me, the wrangler pitched the rifle to another and told him to use it if necessary. The wrangler then ran straight at the bull and hit him full charge in the nose with the electric prod. He apparently hit him just right because the bull screamed and took off in the opposite direction with the other wranglers screaming and yelling to get him to go into another pen. He was finally contained, much to the relief of all involved.

The old wrangler was a man of few words and as he walked over to me he just shook his head. I had quit fighting because the fencing and the riggings were tearing me up even more. He slowly stared to untangle me and I calmly laid there and let him. There were times when he needed bolt cutters and a knife, but he finally got me loose so I could stand. He told someone to call the vet as he washed the blood off of me. He and the vet stood and looked at the gaping hole in my hip. The vet said there was bone, tissue and nerve damage, all I know was it hurt to move. I had numerous cuts and scrapes from the fall, but those were all minor. The vet said my eye had a 50/50 chance of healing. According to the vet a horse my age probably would not make a full recovery from such injuries. Then the vet and the wrangler walked away and talked in low voices. I didn't have time to worry about what they were saying. I was doing good to stand, and I was in so much pain. When the wrangler came back he was sad and slowly led me to a small pen by myself...

Read more in Pie An Old Brown Horse


About the Author

Kandy Kay Scaramuzzo is a seventh generation Texan who has her own brick at The Cowgirl Museum. She has taught in alternative education for over twenty years. Scaramuzzo is a member of the 2012 Strathmore's Who's Who. She has a BA in Criminology and MAEDCT. She works in horse, dog, cat and snake rescues. Scaramuzzo has been a test observer for therapy dogs for nine years. She ran a therapy horse riding program for autistic children for five years. She has been a recognized animal behaviorist for over 20 years. This is her first book. She feels it is important to give back to maintain the balance of a civilized society.