LETHBRIDGE – Herman Houweling’s been working on farms for years, and through much of that time, he’s had one constant companion: a horse named Frosty. The Lethbridge man admits it was a bit of a forced relationship at first.
“My boss looked at me and said, ‘there’s a gelding out in the back of the feed lot that nobody else wants,’” Houweling said. “‘The boys don’t like riding him so you can go grab that one and use him instead of walking through pens.’ It took me half an hour to catch him, he was running around being crazy. I thought, ‘what am I getting myself into?’”
It may have been a rocky start, but the two were a match.
“He was just rock solid,” Houweling said. “He’s the first horse I ever loped on, the first horse I ever cut cattle on…he gave me a lot of firsts with a horse.”
The pair checked pens, sorted cattle, and worked together six hours a day at a feed lot for three years. Eventually, Houweling decided it was time to change jobs, but after moving on, he still missed his old partner.
“I was thinking I’d like to have him (Frosty) back and buy him,” Houweling said. “I phoned them and they said, ‘well we sold two or three of the horses we had.’”
Despite his best efforts, Houweling wasn’t able to find Frosty and was forced to move on.
He took a job at another feed lot, before arriving at his current job as the farm coordinator at the Lethbridge Therapeutic Riding Association.
On his first day at the new job—three years after last seeing Frosty—Herman set eyes upon a familiar face.
“They went to go show me the horses and this guy (Frosty) is standing in the pen,” Houweling said. “And he looks at me, kinda nickers (neighs softly) at me, walks over just like, ‘oh, I’ve been waiting for you.’”
Frosty wasn’t sold after all: he was donated to the Lethbridge Therapeutic Riding Association.
“It was kind of funny,” said Houweling with a laugh. “I looked at him and I was like, ‘you bugger. You’ve been sitting here the whole time on retirement leave.’”
Now the two work together at the riding association, helping people in need every day. The duo has gone from cutting cattle, to impacting lives.
Now that Herman’s found Frosty, he has no plans to part with him this time.
“We’ll be here until he’s (Frosty’s) done at least,” said Houweling with a smile. “He’s too stubborn to give up at any point in time so he’ll be 32 years old and we’ll be telling him, ‘stay in the pen, you’re not working anymore.’”