Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy Stories for the Season

By Laura Crum

Last time I wrote about Sunny, the horse I bought a year ago to ride the trails with my son. (“The New Horse”, May 08 and “My Little Palomino Plug” December 08). Writing this piece gave me the idea that those of you who have read my blog posts here on Equestrian Ink might like to know how some of the other horses I’ve written about are doing. (For those who want to know, I own, or share responsibility for, twelve horses.) So here are some updates on those of my herd that I’ve written about earlier. If you want to read the earlier posts, you can find them by scrolling through the month in which I posted them.

The first horse I wrote about here was Gunner (“The Real Horses Behind the Books” April 08). This is appropriate because Gunner is a horse I’ve owned for twenty five years. He’ll be twenty-nine this coming spring. I trained him myself and showed him in reining, cutting and team roping events. Gunner has been retired to my 60 acre pasture for the last ten years or so. He still looks great, and is sound, happy and frisky. The photo below shows Gunner (the bay) and Smoky (the blue roan), our four year old colt, sunning themselves in the pasture. The horse in the background is Danny, another of my retired pasture ornaments. (Smoky’s story appears in my June 08 post, “My Next Project”.)

I also wrote about my rescue horse, ET. (Sept 08, “Why I Have One Skinny Horse”). Many people wrote to give advice and I am happy to report that after three months of living by himself in a five acre field and being fed free choice Equine Senior Delight, ET looks great. His hair coat is shiny, no ribs can be seen, and he gallops in to be fed every day, bucking and playing. When he breaks down to the trot, he’s completely sound. ET, too, will be twenty-nine this spring. It makes me smile to see him.

In June I wrote about my one mare (“I Made a Mistake” June 08). I did get this mare settled in her new home in October, where they are happy to have her and her coming baby. I also managed to convince these kind people to take the mare’s long time pasture companion, a sound, ridable, gentle older gelding named “Grey Dog”. Grey Dog is now serving as a riding horse for the teen-aged nephew of his new owners, a boy who has always wanted a horse of his own. This kid is cleaning stalls and doing chores on the ranch to help support his new horse, and everybody seems happy with the arrangement.

Lets see, who else have I written about? Oh, Plumber. (This would be August 08, “The Horse With Two Left Feet”) Plumber is doing well, still sound, still a useful rope horse and riding horse. He will be twenty in the spring. He resides here in one of my large corrals, along with Sunny, my trail horse, Henry, my son’s riding horse, and Twister, my boarder, another team roping horse. Plumber, and all the saddle horses in the corrals, are sound, useful horses and are ridden three times a week on average (when its not pouring non-stop rain that is).

If anybody is counting, I have now accounted for ten horses. What about the other two, you ask. (If anybody is the slightest bit interested.) One of these is Lester, a horse I wrote about on mugwump’s blog, and he is still living happily in a home about ten miles from me, the much loved trail horse of a lady vet. The last horse is Rebby, a horse that technically does not belong to me, but rather to my team roping partner, who also owns Twister. However I trained Reb, and still help care for him now that he’s retired. I’ll post his story here on Equestrian Ink soon.
So, in this season of very hard times for many horses (and people, too), here are the happy stories of twelve horses who remain loved and well-cared for, despite the fact that many of them are old and/or retired due to soundness issues. It cheers me up to see my guys and know that they are all doing well, and I hoped it would cheer you, too.

Happy Holidays!
From Laura and the herd


mugwump said...

It cheers me up to know you have found a way to care for all of your old friends.
They are lucky, lucky horses. Merry Christmas Laura

mugwump said...

How is Smoky bred? He looks handy.

Anonymous said...

Smoky is handy, mugwump. He had thirty days put on him as a three year old and ninety days as a four year old (by a better hand than me) and he will turn around real nicely, and make a pretty stop. He lopes in a very nice collected frame under saddle. But out in the pasture is where you can really see it. That horse can move. He's not fancy looking (other than his color), but I think he'll be a good horse.

Breeding? Lets, see, Smoky's mama is out of a mare I used to rope on and pack in the mountains, and she was a daughter of Whizabar (sp?)Smoky's dam's sire was my uncle's blue roan stud (running bred Quarter on the top --Ettabo--and cowhorse on the bottom--Holey Doc Sox--I think)Smoky's sire was King Ranch cowhorse bred--Benito San--a horse that went to the Snaffle Bit and then stood around for the rest of his life. He made quite a few nice babies around here.

Smoky is only that odd white with black points color part of the year. The rest of the time he's either a shiny steel blue grey or almost black. Roans change color an amazing amount. He doesn't look like the same horse from month to month.

mugwump said...

Uh oh. He's related to Sonita. Bwah-ha-ha.

Anonymous said...

mugwump, this colt is not, I repeat not, a fire breathing dragon like Sonita. He's easy going, a little overly gentle. The King Ranch bred a lot of horses, and I don't actually know who Benito San (Smoky's sire) goes back to without looking it up. Some King Ranch bred horses were pretty easy; I rode a few of them. And all Benito San's colts were easy ones....Ok, Ok, you're making me nervous. Talented she may have been, but I don't want another Sonita, shiver, cringe. I'm not tough enough.

Mary Paine said...

You've made a very happy life for twelve lucky horses. Best wishes for a safe and wonderful holiday season!

Heidi said...

I'm happy to have found some equestrian Writers! Very cool! I just had my first novel published, Cowgirl Dreams, based on my grandmother who rode in rodeos during the 1920s. A little different from your books, I imagine, but it was fun to write!

Happy New Year!

Jami Davenport said...


We're glad to have your here. We hope you'll check in often.


Fantastyk Voyager said...

Thanks for the updates on your horses. It's interesting to know that your novel horses are based on real ones.
My horses are all old, my youngest is 13 now, but I often forget their ages because they act so spunky all the time. I'm hoping my oldest, 25, has many more useable years ahead.