We’ve all seen pickup trucks going down the road with a faithful dog sitting nonchalantly next to the driver. Perhaps you have one of those heart-and-soul companions who happily rides with you to your every destination.
Verne fondly recalls the years when he had a horse that rode shotgun in his pickup–though he admits with a grin that the horse didn’t quite fit in the cab.
“He was a gray, part-quarter horse,” Verne says. “I needed weight in the back of the truck if the roads were bad or if I had to be in and out of the fields, and every now and then it was handy to have a horse available. So on those days, I just loaded that gelding in the morning and he rode around with me all day.”
Verne had more horses than stalls at the time, so each night he parked his truck in the barn. After the little gelding was fed and watered, Vern would untie him and the horse would trot back to the pickup, jump in, and settle down for the night, content to use the straw-filled bed of the pickup in the most literal sense. In the morning, the gelding would jump out at feeding time and then be ready to go down the road once again.
A horse buyer from Chicago stopped at the stable early one Sunday morning. He bought a few horses, and then lingered to shoot the breeze for awhile. The man told Verne that he enjoyed showing his horse, a pretty palomino, but he sometimes missed a horse show because the horse was so difficult to load.
Verne couldn’t resist.
“I reached over, unsnapped the gray’s lead rope, and gave him a swat on the rear,” Vernon recalls with a grin. “Then I told him to go get in the trailer. He trotted clear across the barn and hopped in the truck, and waited for me to shut the gate.”
The visitor was stunned. “How did you do that?” he asked in disbelief.
“I told him to,” Vern replied, and then added thoughtfully, “Maybe your horse doesn’t load because you forget to tell him to get in.”
Vern offered to demonstrate on the man’s horse if he would bring it to Iowa, but the guy never did show up. And for all we know, Verne says, the guy is still in Chicago, and still can’t get that horse to load.