Like a walk through the country side living on a small farm is full of daily surprises, sometimes wonderful and amazing, and other times puzzling and sad. I hope you will walk with me as I live out my dream of living on this tiny farm. You will come to know the dogs, cats, Shetland sheep and chickens that make up this farm and what goes into keeping them happy and healthy. Come and join the journey with me.

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

My First Horse

Sunrise Surprise, Missouri Fox Trotter--My First Horse
Later in the year after my pony died, the serious search for a horse began. I had a little money saved and my parents would help me if needed. When searching for a horse, we did everything wrong. We got in a hurry...and we went to the horse auction. We happened to know the guy who helped run the auction, but in the end it did little to stop the inevitable.

The first auction we went to, (my Mom and Dad and me) there were only a few possibilities. One was a large grey mare who had split feet and a cranky attitude (but who could blame her?). The other was a pretty little chestnut gelding with a blaze face, tied up to the side of the stall. He was very mellow, with lip hanging and sleepy eyes. He was very pretty. Let's just say that my Dad was immediately taken with this horse. I thought he was pretty nice, and I wanted a horse real bad....

Dad kept circling back to the horse and we got some more information on him. He was two years old (sense a pattern here?) and saddle broke, and was a registered Foxtrotter gelding. I think we were warned from the auction owner about 'not wanting that horse', but we were caught up in the flow of horse buying. Sunny came in the ring and the bidding commenced hot and heavy. My heart sank as we only had so much to spend. Then suddenly he started bucking and pitching quite a fit. When the dust cleared guess who were the only ones still bidding? Yep.

On July 5, 1978, I had my first horse--Sunrise Surprise was mine for $325.00. Our neighbor was coincidentally there buying a pony for his kids, and we were able to arrange for him to haul Sunny along with the pony to our house--in a pickup with stock racks. By the time we got him home, it was dark and unloading him onto the bank of the yard was a bit tricky.

Okay, now remember when I mentioned he was tied up, lip drooping and sleepy eyed? Uhm...well in hindsight this is usually a good indication that a horse has been doped.
My Dad & Sunrise Surprise

So Sunny was home all bright eyed and bushy tailed. He was a sweet as could be and I rode him a few times with Dad hanging on to the halter. Sunny seemed a tad, well, unhappy about being rode, but we were sure that would ease as he became used to his new home. The last time I rode Sunny was again with my Dad holding onto him, as he still was awful prone to crow hop and want to go, go, go. That was the time that I missed the brick wall of a building by a few inches when he sent me flying. The 'surprise' in Sunrise was showing itself.

There was my first horse--all beautiful and sweet and unrideable--at least by me. So Dad said I'll take him and we'll buy you another. All he needed was some miles on him to get him to settle down...

I decided this would be a good plan. We put the word out to the auction owner and a few weeks later he called to tell us he had a couple of mares that had been brought in for the auction later in the week. Did we want to come try them out? Yes we did.

One of the mares was a --wait for it---two year old bay. She was very pretty...and high stepping and spirited. A couple of turns on her and I was ready for the next horse to ride. This one was a dull looking mare with a big belly, roached mane and a large scar on the side of her neck. She had a wide blaze face and three socks. Up on her I went, and was told she was 'dead broke'. Around and around we plodded, with nary a high step along the way. Yep. She was the one. I wanted dead broke, and I didn't care how she looked. She was four years old. On July 15, 1978 (my Mom's birthday) I got my second first horse--Lady.

As for Sunny, he never did ever really settle down. He was, er, quirky. He would be normal for several rides and then he would explode into a bucking, rearing fit. Nothing seemed to ever get him past that. One time he went over backwards with Dad in a ditch, and another time he threw Dad off when he saw his reflection in a plate glass window. My Dad landed on his feet on the pavement and ended up with an injured foot (which still bothers him to this day). Forget anyone else thinking they were going to ride him! The other side of Sunny was sweet, smart and mellow, and he had a beautiful carriage. He was a lucky horse and lived out his life with my Dad and Mom and was finally put down at age 26 from a twisted gut.

Next up in the horse chronicles---my life with Lady Bug. Dead broke and proud of it.


Joanna@BooneDocksWilcox said...

great story, I'm waiting for Part 2

Vicki Lane said...

Wonderful story! I always wanted a horse when I was young but as we lived in the suburbs, it wasn't going to happen.

Phyllis Oller said...

And you don`t have a horse now? I loved the story,sounds as if your dad was taken with the first horse.I would love to have a horse,but am not able to take care of one properly.I fell in love with a Tennesse Walking horse I rode one afternoon,then my friend told me of the sad story of how those horses got their name.My husband rode a paint horse that same afternoon,& he was thrown off & broke his arm.Soooo,we didn`t get to ride again.phyllis

Dakota Shetlands said...

Absolutely hilarious! You are speaking the language of most of the horse owners I know! (If they tell the truth!)

Kathy said...

Oh this is so close-to-home! I rode since I was around 6 or 7 up until a few years ago when horses got the last laugh in...IF they could see me "move" in the mornings. LOL!
It's amazing what we all do for the joy of having horses in our lives...even if some should be in an Alpo can. ;) (The mean ones!)

Kathy said...

Almost sounds like horses here that have "locoed" on locoweed or jimson weed. Their brains just don't work correctly after those chemicals get in there - and can't be trusted afterwards.
My mare would always let me know I hadn't ridden her in a while and that we were a team-thing (no one of us being the boss) as she'd crow-hop and buck when I'd have to get her going early in the mornings. Then, she'd settle down and work all day long. I still miss her.