Somehow in my early teen years I acquired the nick name of Wild Bill. I’m not sure how or why because I was a quiet, well mannered young man who tried hard to stay out of trouble.
Thinking back, and it was a long time ago, it must have been because of my horse Amigo. We were buddies and he was my main means of transportation and we went everywhere together and never at a walk.
My dad was an exhibition rider in the thirteenth cavalry for a couple of years, I think it was around 1915 or 1916; anyhow he taught me a bit about horseback riding and a few tricks as well.
Of course at that age mounting at a gallop was a thrill so I taught my horse the necessary cues and spent a bit of time being dragged around while I got the hang of it. From then on, when I was getting ready to mount, if I gave the saddle horn a small tug and gave a “tisking” sound, Amigo would be at a full gallop in three steps. After awhile I never used the stirrups to mount and Amigo forgot about the “tisking” sound, so whenever I gave a tug on the saddle horn, we were on our way. If I wanted to mount in a normal fashion, I had to have a talk with him before hand to make sure he understood what he was expected not to do.
If I had an audience, I would kind of drag my feet like I was falling, then take a couple of steps and bounce up into the saddle. So I was a show off, so what. Nothing to it and there was an additional benefit to this maneuver.
People were always asking if they could ride my horse and I would always say “sure if you can get on him”. I didn’t like anybody else riding my horse. He was a real handful, had a mind of his own and loved to run. As a result, if you didn’t know what you were about, you got dumped, usually in the first five or six steps before you got set in the saddle.
So guess what. When a would be rider of Amigo, put their foot in the stirrup and started to pull themselves up into the saddle, Amigo would be gone almost before they got both feet off the ground and they would generally be left sitting on their butt. It wasn’t long before nobody asked if they could ride.
Amigo and Wild Bill had many adventures together and I will tell you about some of them in following blogs.
PS from Sue. The picture that really captures the essence of Wild Bill is hanging on the wall in the hallway. As soon as I can get it down and copied, I’ll post it. This picture is of Bill’s current horse, Doc Holiday.