A Horse is a Horse

A Horse is a Horse

Part of the Understanding Ezra Series


By JudyL

October 15, 2007


Chris pulled his Dodge Ram and horse trailer into the parking lot at the auction grounds.


“Aw, hell,” Vin drawled as he saw the sign at the front entrance. “I’m sorry, Ez, I forgot this is overflow weekend.”


“Overflow?” Ezra asked from the back seat.


“Yeah,” Chris replied, “it’s for horses that haven’t sold at auction the rest of the month. Most of them have serious behavior problems or health issues.”


“Yeah, it’s a shame but the majority will end up at the glue factory next week,” Vin added with a shake of his head. “We like to check it out though, sometimes there’s one that is workable and will make a nice saddle horse. We always bring the trailer just in case, saves a trip.”


“Well,” Ezra said, “we’re already here, may as well look around.”


They wandered the area which included several large barns and corrals. Horses were being walked out and examined by potential buyers. After checking almost all of the horses, it seemed there weren’t any viable purchases in this lot. One little mare seemed a possibility, but she was lame in her front shoulder and the owner admitted that she had fractured it over a year ago. More than likely, she would never be sound. Though she might make a good child’s starter horse.


They reached the last barn and saw only a few horses in the stalls.


“Let’s head on home,” Chris suggested with a shake of his head. He never expected to find a salvageable horse at this auction, but it was always a disappointment when he didn’t.


Just as the three men turned and started to leave the barn, a loud clanging caught their attention. They turned back and saw a man backing away from a stall.


“Damn it, Cad, cut that out,” the man said taking a few steps back to the stall.


A well-shaped, chestnut head popped over the top of the stall door. It snaked forward and grabbed the man’s sleeve in his teeth dragging him closer.


“Cad! Stop it, you stupid mule,” the man shouted. He took his cap off and bopped the horse on the side of his neck as the man leaned back, tugging and trying to get the horse to release his sleeve. “Let go!”


Suddenly the horse released the sleeve and the man lost his balance and fell on his rear. The horse whinnied and lifted its lip as if to laugh.


Ezra grinned and started toward the stall. Vin and Chris followed.


The man picked himself up off the floor and dusted himself off. He picked up his cap and set it on his head with a grimace at the horse. “Damn horse,” he cursed.


Vin chuckled and the man turned abruptly, surprised to have an audience.


“Oh, hi, I didn’t see you there.”


“Looks like you’re having a little difficulty there,” Vin said.


The man cast a scathing glance at the horse. “Most cantankerous animal… My name’s Johnny Dupont. That there is Canterbury’s Pride, but we call him Cad.”


“Cad?” Ezra asked turning his back on the horse.


“Short for Cadbury,” Johnny said with a short chuckle. “The owner’s daughter mispronounced Canterbury once and Cadbury sort of stuck. ‘Course with his behavior, Cad is more fitting.”


“What sort of behavior?” Chris asked.


“Can’t keep the damn thing in a stall, have to padlock them. There’s not a man or horse in the barn that he hasn’t taken a nip at. The only one he’ll let near him is Missy, but the boss thinks Cad’s too unpredictable for a little girl.”


“Is he saddle broke?” Vin asked.


“Nope,” Johnny replied. “No one can stay on him. Plus he won’t keep a halter on.”


“Any health problems?” Chris asked.


“Nope, sound as can be.”


“Can you walk him out for us?” Ezra asked.


Johnny shook his head. “Sorry. Somehow he got his halter off and I ain’t going in there to get it.” He pointed at the stall.


“How do you plan to get him home, then?” Vin asked.


Johnny shook his head. “He’s not going home. The boss said to sell him or don’t bring him back. Too much of a troublemaker. I’m afraid he’s headed for the glue factory. Shame too, he’s a nice looking horse. The boss hoped he’d be the new stud for the farm, his bloodline’s top notch, but we had to geld him. He kept getting out into the mares pasture. And his behavior wasn’t exactly what we wanted to pass on to future generations, he’s got the devil in ‘im that one does.”


“I’d still like to see him,” Ezra insisted.


“If you can get him out of there,” Johnny offered, “you can have him for $500.”


“Deal,” Ezra said shaking the man’s hand. “Vin, do you have any of those peppermints left?”


“I think so,” Vin said checking his jacket pocket. He pulled out a bag of candy. “Here ya go.”


“I also need a lightweight rope or strap,” Ezra requested.


Johnny went to a tack box down the aisle and came back with a thin cotton rope, hardly thicker than a dog leash.


“Perfect,” Ezra said softly. He draped the rope over his shoulder and took the bag of peppermints from Vin. He opened one of the candy wrappers, crinkling the paper loudly then popped the mint into his mouth.


Cad stuck his head over the stall door and tried to see around Ezra’s back. Ezra rattled the bag and the horse nickered. Ezra turned and spoke to the horse. “I’m sorry, did you want one?”


The horse actually seemed to nod, shaking his head up and down. Ezra chuckled and unwrapped another peppermint as he approached the stall. “All right, son,” Ezra said softly. He held out his hand with the mint on the flat of his palm. “Leave the fingers, if you please.”


Cad lipped the candy from Ezra’s hand and rolled the mint around and over his tongue for a few moments, his eyes drooping with pleasure. Ezra chuckled again and slowly stroked the horse’s neck. Cad finally chomped into the candy and butted Ezra’s shoulder with his head.


“What? You want another one?” Ezra asked, amusement coloring his tone. “Very well.” He offered another, this time gently placing the rope over the horse’s neck. “I must say that these accommodations leave something to be desired. How would you like to relocate, Canterbury?”


The horse nuzzled the pocket Ezra had the peppermints in. “Now, now, be patient,” Ezra said, pushing the nose away. He gave the horse another mint and tied the rope loosely around his neck. If Cad dropped his head, the loop would drop off. Ezra opened the stall door and went in. He led the horse out, talking the whole time.


“I think you’ll like your new home. Chris and the others have their horses there as well.”


Johnny scratched his head. “I don’t believe it.”


Cad kicked out with his rear foot at the sound of Johnny’s voice. Even though he was too far to reach, Johnny stumbled back.


“Now, Canterbury,” Ezra chided, stopping and looking the horse in the eye. “That was uncalled for. Gentlemen must remember their manners at all times.” He turned back to Johnny. “I assume you’ll take a check?”


Johnny nodded. “I just don’t believe it,” he repeated as Ezra pulled out his checkbook and wrote out the payment.


Canterbury bumped Ezra’s back with his nose causing the man to stagger forward a few steps. He smiled indulgently and continued his task. Ezra pulled the check from his check book and handed it Johnny. “I believe you have some papers for me.”


Johnny nodded again, then shook his head as he collected the ownership papers and signed Canterbury’s Pride over to Ezra Standish.


Ezra took the papers. “Thank you, sir. Come along Canterbury. You know, Canterbury’s Pride is a bit pretentious. Of course, it is preferable to Cadbury and anything’s better than Cad… however, I was thinking of a more suitable name,” he said as he led the horse toward the exit. Vin and Chris followed exchanging amused glances. “Considering the literary connotations of your moniker, perhaps you would prefer to be named after the author.” Ezra stopped and the horse raised his head, eyeing the man expectantly. “What do you think of Chaucer?”


The horse bobbed his head again.


“Very well, then, Chaucer, let us proceed.”






I cannot take the credit for Chaucer’s name, I believe Kristen was the first to use it, but I did enjoy the playing around to get to it.<G>


Feedback is greatly appreciated. JudyL