By Larry Hannon
Eventually I earned his total trust, but he never trusted another man except for my dad. He liked and trusted women and children, but was always leery of other men.
The spring before I was mustered out of the Air Force, dad call needing another horse to ride on the ranch. His mare was getting older, and he wondered if he could use Jiggs. Sharon and I loaded him in our little two-horse trailer and took him from the plains of Texas to the Osage Hills of Oklahoma. My dad instantly fell in love with him, and he took to ranch work like it was bred in him. All the cowboys Dad worked with wanted to know where he got that nice colt, and of course he told them the story. Of all the horses I started for the ranch remuda, Jiggs was the only one I ever handed the reins over to my day, my greatest compliment.
Jiggs went back to college with us where I roped steers with him and he earned a reputation among the ropers. He went to Nebraska where I used him on some of those great ranches in the Sandhills, and made a few steer ropings with him. We also did a number of clinics together. He got to be known in that country also.
When our oldest son was able to show in 4-H, he took him and showed him in reining, trail and some pleasure. He won every reining class for that boy, and only lost one trail class. The show management had placed two alfalfa bales end to end for the exhibitors to side pass over. Jiggs wasn’t about to pass up the opportunity to get a bite or two, or three, or four while completing the obstacle! The boy got too big to ride him, and was never satisfied with other horses we bought for him.
I could have sold Jiggs several times over for a whole lot more money than the $125.00 I paid for him, but he was never for sale. When I started putting my breeding operation together, I loaned Jiggs to a young family who had two young boys, and he took care of those boys and their mama. He would never allow them to try to do something with him that they could not handle. When they moved we took him back.
A good friend and client of mine was looking for an older horse for his daughter. She wanted to learn to ride, and he asked if I could find her a horse. I loaned them Jiggs and she road him for almost three years. She truly fell in love with him and vice versa. However, Dan told me he could never catch Jiggs. She could catch him anywhere on the place, but not Dan. One morning Dan called me. She had left for a volley ball game early that morning, and he told her he would feed Jiggs for her. When he went to the barn he found Jiggs lying dead in his stall. He apparently suffered a massive heart attack. Dan was beside himself.
Jiggs lived to be 22 years old, and I like to think we gave him a good life for 20 of those years. He was tougher than nails, quick as a cat, and strong enough to trip a thousand pound cow. He was one of the most intelligent horses I have possessed. We trusted each other to the very end, but he never forgot another man mistreated him.