Four years ago, on New Year’s Eve, I brought home a little palomino mutt of a horse that I intended to use for trail riding. He had a few bad habits that I thought I could deal with, and he was known to be a truly solid, bombproof horse outside, which is what I was looking for. In the past four years we have been on hundreds of rides—I kept track the first year I owned him and came up with 175—for that year alone. We’ve ridden through the hills and on the beach, alone and with friends, we’ve gathered cattle and plodded through mud, crossed creeks and waded in the surf, and scrambled up some pretty tricky bits of steep, tangled, brushy trail. We’ve had a blast together and I’ve grown to love my opinionated, intelligent, sensible, lazy, and very reliable little yellow horse. Today I’m going to post some photos in honor of our partnership, showing our life together (including some from a recent winter ride on the beach). I hope you enjoy them.
Below you see Sunny at his best—mid-summer.
Sunny in his winter color. I think this horse’s personality shows perfectly in this photo.
From Sunny’s back—going through the sand dunes toward Santa Cruz, Monterey Bay to our left.
Headed down the beach towards Monterey with my son on Henry and our friend Wally on Twister.
The end of a good ride.
Going down our nearby trail through the woods.
That same trail, from a different perspective—Sunny and Henry carrying me and my son through the green world.
Below I am gazing at the Monterey Bay from Sunny’s back, looking north towards Santa Cruz. We call this place the Lookout—it is about a two mile ride from my front gate, and one of my favorite spots. The ride to the Lookout and back is the one I take most often (we did it yesterday). The trail through the woods in the previous two photos leads to this place. This is the photo we used for the new Equestrian Ink banner, but unfortunately the view of the Monterey Bay had to be cropped out to make the picture fit the banner.
Sunny turned loose to graze.
Eating breakfast in his corral.
A ride through the autumn hills.
Sunny and me in very non PC garb.
My little yellow mule.
Here’s to you, Sunny. You’ve been a great horse for me, enabling me to do just those things I really wanted to do right now. I will always be grateful to you for the gift you’ve given me. You have a forever home.
Sunny is a very special horse. He's beautiful too. It's wonderful that he is such a good trail partner for you. And you have some beautiful areas in which to ride.
Once Upon--Sunny is actually quite a character. He's as opinionated as all get out. But I love him. He does just what I need. And yes, I am SO grateful for the places I can ride that are all less than an hour away.
whew.. at first your post scared me, I thought you meant something had happened to him! I'm glad he's ok!
Sorry Jami--I didn't mean to scare anyone. I just wanted to sort of mark the anniversary of four years together with my funny little yellow horse. I bought him on a whim, and somewhat against logic--I already had a riding horse and Sunny is in some ways a rather ill-broke clunker. But he is an absolutely reliable, fun horse to ride "outside" and I have been given so many gifts because of him (which I hope the post shows), not least to have taken my son on literally hundreds of lovely rides without even once being scared, let alone hurt....I just want to say thank you, Sunny! And thank you Henry, too! (This is my kid's equally wonderful sorrel gelding.)
Thanks for caring that Sunny is OK, Jami. The internet is a small world in some ways, isn't it?
Standing, clapping and CHEERING for a good, trustworthy horse!
(I *thought* I recognized his ears in the banner photo!)
Hooray for Sunny, and hooray for Laura, who knows what a good horse should have in life.
What a stunning looking horse and such knowing eyes. I've always had a real soft spot for palominos. Thanks for sharing with us.
Aarene--Thank you! And three cheers for Fiddle, who is obviously also in the good, trustworthy horse category. There is just nothing like these solid trail horses for having fun--Ok, I know I'm preaching to the choir.
And yes, I really do believe that all such horses need an owner who will give them a forever home. I absolutely know how difficult that can be (me with my small herd of retirees) and how painful. But we owe them that. Here's to every single horse owner who stands up for their good horse and keeps him/her (and takes good care of them) until the end of their lives.
jane--Sunny is my first palomino, and I have to say I've been somewhat surprised by how very much I enjoy his color. Just looking at him in the corral makes me smile. Silly, but its true. Thank you for your comment.
What a great guy - you are very fortunate to have one another!
Loved this post Laura, non PC garb and all! Horses like Sunny are rare gems and worth as much as even the fanciest of show horses. My God you live in paradise! Those shots of you overlooking the Monterey Bay - GORGEOUS. I am sure that Sunny enjoys his partnership with you as much as you do.
Kate--Thank you. I do think I am lucky to have Sunny. I almost didn't buy him, because he isn't that much fun to ride in an arena and I was initially put off by that. However, his trail horse abilities won me over--and I knew my goal was lots of trail rides. I am so glad I bought him. I guess he is lucky to have me, too--not everyone would love him.
Terri--You should know. You have the fanciest of show horses, and you surely rode the best and solidest of all trail horses in Africa. Yes, I am grateful for Sunny and equally grateful for where I live. There are a lot of people around here, but I am fortunate enough to have some nearby wild places to ride.
And to all--Sunny is a great trail horse. But he has plenty of drawbacks. I put this out there to point out to those who are looking for the perfect horse--sensitive, responsive, athletic, but calm on the trail--that perhaps such perfect horses do exist, but I have never had one. I have had some really rewarding experiences with my horses, including Sunny, and a lot of it comes down to being willing to accept the right overall package to fit your needs. Sunny is emphatically not sensitive or athletic; he is solid, competent, sensible, calm and experienced outside. He's also basically well-intentioned, if opinionated. It works for me.
He is a sweetheart! I fell in love with him when reading "Going, Gone"! You guys have had so many rides together - wow!
Ahhh...so sweet! (I was a little worried, too.) I love those kind of horses! This is "wine-hour" at my house...or at least one minute to...so I'm raising a toast to Sunny (and all horses like him)...may you and him have many, many happy trails together! (I'm a sucker for those opinionated ones.)
Dreaming--I'm glad you enjoyed "Going, Gone", and yeah, Sunny is kind of a major character in that story.
Linda--Its the cocktail hour here, too. Let us all toast all the good horses. And here's to your herd as well. May they all have a happy, healthy year (especially Cowboy).
Alison--Thanks. I have so much fun playing around, looking through my photos, trying to find the best ones to illustrate what I'm trying to show. I'm glad you enjoy them.
I'm totally a Sunny fan! ;) Thanks for sharing some really great shots of him and the 2 of you together Laura!
Happy New Year! (I know.. I'm late..lol) Hope 2012 ROCKS for you guys!
Thanks, Mrs Mom. And Happy New year to you and your gang! Hope you have lots of fun with Lutin, and that 2012 is a good one for you all.
He is such a cool horse! You are both lucky to have found each other.
Shanster--He's fun. But he really does have his little quirks. Just like all of em. I know you know.
What a lovely post for a lovely horse! Will be answering your email soon :)
Thanks, Mikey! He's cute, isn't he? Surprising how much fun that is.
He's such a cutie, Laura! I've always wanted a Palomino... such a Barbie horse...well, my Qrac is rather Barbie-horsey-ish, too.
He's a lucky horse to have you and you're a lucky lady to have him. Thanks for showing us such nice photos; as you know I really envy the place where you live, just love that part of the world!
And yes, I finally have my new computer, more or less up and running as of tonight, which is why i've not been able to post or comment for a while.
Happy New Year! Lots of love :)
Francesca--Don't you think that any horse with lots of mane has got that "Barbie horse" quality?
And having been through the computer woes myself recently, I can appreciate how much relief you must be feeling at being up and running again.
Happy New Year to you, too, and may the new year be a great one for you and your family-- and Qrac and Kwint!
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