Thunder Butte

March 15, 2009

Stark Raving Beauty

A Boy Rides a White Stallion
(photo from the film, "White Mane," 1952)

This is the story of the most beautiful horse that ever lived. Well, the most beautiful ever seen around Thunder Butte at least.

There is no record of where Peanuts came from, beautiful horses just roamed the range when I was a child and this one, Peanuts, just came to me as my right and privilege for having been born around the butte.

One day when I was about 12 or 13 years of age, I went out to the corral to find this prancing, white stallion. He would run up to the corral fence, as if to jump it, then with a mighty snort, turn and trot back to the other side. Temptation was too much, this giant Arabian was the horse I had dreamed of since learning to ride.

Loosing a loop in my catch'n rope, I hopped over the corral fence and settled the loop over Peanuts head.

Yep ! He was Peanuts at first sight.

Snow white with a golden mane and tail, pink nostrils that dilated with a fluttering sound.

When the loop settled over his head, Peanuts trotted up to me, blowing with that fluttering sound, as much as to say----- " We're buddies, stick with me and we will float across this land".

The first day of school that fall was one of the proudest days of my life. Peanuts and I rode up to the school-house, took a turn or two around the school, slid off, ground-hitching Peanuts at the same time, I sauntered in to the school room like the Cowboy that I thought I was, number one, with the number one Arabian horse in all of Thunder Butte country.

From time to time my brothers, who probably owned Peanuts, would tell me: you can't have that horse. But, somehow I always managed to ignore their comments and Peanuts and I just continued to ride the range.

Stallions are notoriously hard to manage. They seem to always have a mind of their own and they have been know to be dangerous. More than one person around Thunder Butte has had a piece of his head, bitten off by a stallion. Peanuts, although big and tough, was always gentle as a lamb, prancing around the corral, blowing, letting the world know that he was boss stud in this country. He would settle down under bridle and saddle and though he always danced with the grace of an acrobat, he had the nature of a good friend.

Sitting here, lost in memories of "the good old days," I just had to talk about Peanuts, the object of my nostalgia.

Actually, there is little point to my story other than Peanuts was----- the most beautiful, spirited Arabian who ever floated o'er the cactus patches of Western South Dakota and we belonged.

We belonged to that fraternity who ruled the plains, from the days of Kit Carson, Wild Bill and Deadwood Dick. Ol'e Peanuts had that magic quality of being able to transport a kid into the wild blue yonder,where dwelt the Cowboys from another time.

Some cowboy came along to the ranch one day, carrying his saddle, pick'n cactus out of his boots and my folks loaned Peanuts to him.

I never saw Peanuts again, but you know, when you think of the wind blowing free across the plains and rain clouds shaping up along the horizon, it don't take much imagination to see Ol'e Peanuts, snorting those pink nostrils, mane and tail flowing in the wind.

--John Crowley
Mike Crowley Sunday, March 15, 2009


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