The Farm Chronicles: Tricker

Growing up, for as long as I can remember, we had a pony. He was a black and white pinto with three white socks and a triangle of white on his rump, just above his tail. His name was Tricker. Tricker lived through several generations of Wilsons. My oldest brother Chuck rode him. My next oldest brother Larry rode him. I rode him. Bill McCarthy, close friend of the family rode him. We have a picture of Tricker with Chuck’s son Charlie and I’m pretty sure Larry’s daughter, my niece Jodi, rode him. Tricker lived to be nearly 40 years old. He was really good with kids after they were able to actually get on him and ride. I rode Tricker before I could walk. He taught me a lot about ponies, mostly that I preferred horses.

Tricker was the family pony. We all had to start out riding him. He taught us the tricks of the trade—or at least the tricks Tricker knew. These included a myriad of lessons about becoming a good horseman. In the summer, when I wanted to go for a ride, I would have to go out in the pasture and catch Tricker. I would lure him with a bucket partially filled with grain. Taking some grain in my hand and showing it to him by scooping it up and letting it fall back into the bucket got his interest. “Here Tricker, here boy,” I would gently talk him into coming up to get a little sweet molasses, corn and oats mix. The plan would be to let him put his head in the bucket then a lead rope around his neck and put a halter on him.

Most of the time, especially when I was little, we would get to the part where Tricker would come up to me long enough to draw his ears back and chase me as fast as I could run until I dropped the bucket. Then he would shake his head, paw his front foot, and tuck his tail and turn his rump toward me as if he was going to kick me while he gobbled up his bounty of grain. This was so frustrating. I would eventually have to get my brother Larry and ask if he would catch Tricker so I could ride. Larry would say, “You have to be smarter than the pony.” Then he would demonstrate how to take control of the situation and Tricker would let him put the halter on. It took me a long time to “be smarter than the pony.”

During my Roy Rogers phase—I preferred to be called Roy and even carved the initials “RR” into my saddle horn—Tricker became Trigger. We would ride through the pasture on so many adventures, fighting the bad guys and saving the day. One time, my buddy Sonny came over and we decided we were going to ride Trigger. Well, he was his obstinate self and he ran us all over the pasture several times, till he got his fill of grain and let us catch him. I always felt that Tricker believed it was his world and he was just letting us live in it.  Psalm 20:7 says, “Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; But we will remember the name of the LORD our God.” With Tricker, we often had call on the Lord because the pony couldn’t be trusted until we got him caught and saddled.

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Bill Wilson