Plate 55
(This plate is still under construction.)


Horse Trainer

All: Donald training Nancy, circa 1933.

Excerpt from Donald B. Johnson manuscript:

"The popularity of horses seems to go in cycles, and a big demand for horses flared up in the early 1930s when nobody could afford to buy gas. Everybody was trying to raise colts, including us." [27.170-6]

"I thought it was so much fun I hated to see the tractor era coming in. I had all the Beery Horse Training Course books. I even said I was born 30 years too late, that I would rather have lived through the horse years." [27.173-4]

"When I actually got old enough to go out with girls (finally), I used to say I liked horses best and girls second." [27.174-4]

"Nancy had a mean streak and would switch and kick if we tried to work her alongside of other horses (there isn't any cure for that), but she was really trained, otherwise. If I was riding her, even at a gallop, and slid off (purposely), she would skid to a stop and wait for me. She would walk up and put her foot up on a pedestal, etc. and she would follow me anywhere, without a halter, if I had a whip. [27.171-1]

"Once Sivert Peterson had cattle with us in the pasture up by Mill Lake and the neighbors called to say they were out and roaming the country. Nancy and I rode up there in the back of Sivert's pickup (without any sideboards) and rounded up the cattle and then rode back to Ashby. After 15 or 20 miles without incident, he drove over the sidewalk kitty korner in town and flipped her out on her back, but [even] that didn't scare her. [27.171-2]

"I traded Nancy to a horse jockey for Billy, the Palomino colt from Montana. He was wild and jumped into the manger every time we came behind him, to start with, but he didn't have any mean streaks, and Nancy went to Ohio." [27.171-3]

"One day Dan [the blind work horse] wandered along the south side of the cranberry marsh and slipped in. He was hopelessly mired and the hill went straight up to the driveway from there. We took our biggest team over and managed to pull him out of the mud, but he couldn't get footing enough to stand up on that steep hill, and the team couldn't pull him up it either.

"We pulled him out of the mud with a rope around his neck, which was an everyday thing, pulling horses and cattle out of the mud in sloughs. You would think it would pull their heads off, but we never hurt any of them doing it. It had to go quickly, though, or there was danger of choking them.

"To pull Dan clear up the hill that way would be too hard on him, so we got a long, heavy hay rope and put it around him just back of his front legs and out between them. Then we got two big pulleys and made a block and tackle of them, between two trees. That way the horses had power enough to pull him up the hill, a few feet at a time. We had to keep the rope tight or he would try to get up and slide back down. We finally got him up to the driveway. He probably was sore, but [otherwise] none the worse for the experience." [27.182-3]