Zan’s King McCue

King and I, 1967

“Mike Bellah on his horse King won this week’s Barrel Racing in 19 seconds.” The words came from a summer camp newspaper in 1968. My friend Martha discovered a copy of the Hidden Falls Ranch Yucca Times and sent it to me last night.

Zan’s King McCue was the 3rd horse I owned and my favorite. This registered palomino Quarter Horse was tall (nearly 17 hands–over 5′ at the withers) and fast. His best time in barrels was 17 seconds, not as good as competitive horses who can shave two seconds off that but pretty darn good for an amateur.

I only owned King for two years, but we were close. Hours alone on canyon trails will do that.

Had to sell my palomino the following fall. Was getting married, and my college-student budget couldn’t afford feed and stable.

Used the money to buy a wedding ring for Charlotte, which I figured honored both of my loves—she because I wouldn’t get rid of King for anything less, and he, well, for the same reason.

An eastern panhandle rancher bought my horse. Through the years, I’ve imagined King galloping across the wide prairie with his cowboy passenger, chasing errant calves instead of barrels.

Comanche warriors believed their horses would one day follow them to the Happy Hunting Grounds.

I hope they were right. 🙂

6 thoughts on “Zan’s King McCue

  1. Really enjoyed this story. Was better reason then my husband selling his horse to buy an ugly Studebaker; but our daughter sold her barrel horse to buy a pretty Camero.

  2. Yep, hard to explain that bond between horse and rider. Some horses are truly special and were such a great match. I feel sorry for those who will never experience this type of relationship. You both get close when you cover a lot of ground together…you can figure out what each other’s thoughts are by just feel. Thanks for sharing.

  3. I know how it feels to have to give up a cherished horse. That was a very nice story. I had to give up my 38 year old Arabian because I couldn’t afford to board her and my quarter horse at the time.

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