By Buddy Hazell
The date was July 4, 1943. I was staying with Dave and Nettie Scott for the summer. Rockdale was having a big Fourth of July celebration with a parade, barbecue, games for the kids and horse races. This was also a day when horse traders would be in town to buy, sell and trade horses and mules.
Dave’s old cow-horse had gotten so old, that he could no longer do his job, so Dave had to replace him. I put Dave’s saddle and bridle in the pick-up and Dave, Nettie and I headed to town. Dave parked by the train depot and he and I walked over to the stock pens to see what was there. Horse traders and other people were just beginning to get there, so we walked back to the truck to get Nettie and walked over to the fairgrounds.
The parade was getting ready, the high school band was getting in place and there were wagons pulled by horses with their manes and tails braided with red, white and blue ribbons in them. There were cowboys, and Indians with war bonnets and armed with bows and arrows. BUT WAIT!!!!! Here comes the grand marshal, riding a big white horse, and dressed in a light blue suit, wearing a white hat and a black mask. “Look” I shouted, “its The Lone Ranger, The Lone Ranger is the Grand Marshal”. God bless my ignorant soul; it wasn’t the real Lone Ranger, just a man on a white horse dressed like the Lone Ranger. Dave and I walked back to the stock pens, with me as embarrassed as a 14-year-old boy could be.
There were a lot of horses at the pens now, and Dave began looking them over and talking with the horse traders. After about an hour, Dave told me to get his saddle and bridle. When I got back he said to the man, “Put a rope on that bald-faced bay horse.” He brought the horse out, and Dave saddled him and got on. Up and down the road he went, turning the horse this way and that way, getting off and on first on one side, then the other side, backing up, then jumping him in to a dead run. Bringing the horse back, Dave took his saddle and bridle off the horse and told the man, “He won’t do.”
We looked at a lot of horses, and suddenly Dave stopped. Then Dave told me, “Buddy take a piece of hay string and bring that ‘Gotch-eared’ Palomino out here.” I walked into the pen and went right up to the horse, slipped the hay string around his neck and nose, and led him out of the pen. Dave saddled the horse, got on and just sat there about 10 minutes and then put him through the same maneuvers the he did the first horse. Getting off the horse, Dave looked in its mouth and grunted a couple of times and asked the trader, “What happened to his ear?” Not waiting for an answer Dave said “How much?” I didn’t hear the traders, but Dave turned to me and said, “Buddy, pull my saddle off the horse.” They talked a few minutes, and I saw Dave give him some money. Then Dave told me to put the saddle back on the horse and after dinner, you can ride him home. Home was just eight miles, so no problem.
From that day on, I never heard of anyone except Dave riding ‘Old Gotch-ear’. Old Gotch-Ear was Dave Scott’s horse, and he made one heck of a good cow-horse.