I thought I would put in one post a photograph of each of the horses I work with on a daily basis here at our place, Flying Hat. All of these photographs can be enlarged by clicking on the photograph. By enlarging the photograph, if you have a moment, will reveal a lot of detail, as these photographs are usually 2.0 plus in megabytes. I like to take photographs using the most detailed mode (within reason, of course) I can. You can always lessen the detail in a photograph, but never add detail to it.
This is Shiners Fannin Peppy or “Fanny.” Fanny has been in training — elementary school — for a hundred days with Duncan Steele-Park at the GCH Land & Cattle Company of Weatherford, Texas. Fanny is a daughter of Sweet Hija below. Fanny is quite vocal. She will begin to nicker once she knows that I am going to feed. It is a vocalization that is more of a chortle, kind of a gargle, deep-down in her throat. Fanny will continue to nicker-chortle every fifteen seconds or so until I put feed in her bin. Translation to English: “Oh, boy, I can’t wait, can’t wait for my grain. Oh, boy, oh boy.”
This is Sweet Hija or “Hija,” as we like to call her. I purchased her in 2003, from King Ranch. She starred in a King Ranch video for marketing before the auction at Kingsville. She cut cattle with J. R. Ramirez, her trainer, in front of two-hundred prospective buyers. I bought her at the King Ranch Legacy Auction in 2003, in front of 2,000 spectators — really stressful, but fun. When I walked to the stables to view Hija after purchase, two stalls down from her was her grandfather, Peppy San Badger. He was looking over the crowd and his granddaughter. Peppy San Badger was nearing the end of his days, but he was still eager to see people and his progeny — be around the excitement. I am sorry to say that I did not appreciate his background and heritage that day as I was just beginning to understand the quarter horse culture. Peppy San Badger, Hija’s grandsire, was one of the greatest quarter horses ever to have lived: he rewrote performance records and records in the show pen. He died in 2005, less than two years after he saw Hija load up into our horse trailer and come to Hannibal. I have a photograph that shows Peppy in the background, Hija in the fore. I’ll try and retrieve it for you some day.
When I saddle and ride Hija, I have to give her a run around the round pen before I mount (it’s been a while, however, since I’ve ridden) because she has that spirit of Peppy San Badger. He would give a little buck when you first mounted him, but not a mean buck, just an energetic buck that he was happy to be alive — so also, his granddaughter.
This is Lilly, the oldest mare in the remuda. I inherited Lilly and her son, Star, upon the settlement of my parents’ estate in 2003. Lilly is the alpha mare of the remuda. She is challenged by Fanny for placement at the food trough. Lilly likes to take her good time these days to come to the stall. I favor her and let her use the alleyway to get into her stall (see the alleyway above) rather than have her walk a longer distance. You can also see in the photograph above, the barn cat, Paint or Little Paint. Odd, but he has the same markings of Lilly.
Here is “Shiney.” He is all-boy, a colt and a peppy one at that. He is the son of Sweet Hija. This is the guy I am having so much fun with these days. He is an intact male and I have him for sale, but Brenda and I have talked about keeping him — me more than her — but it would require the construction of a stallion run. Shiney is such a fine boy. I really like working with him.
Star is a gelding and the baby-sitter for Shiney. Star and Shiney inhabit the large outdoor arena and are given to playing many games of “Gotcha,” a variation of tag. Star is a large horse. I often refer to him with affection: The Beer Wagon Horse. Star is the son of Lilly. Star is known far and wide as the levitating horse of Flying Hat — check a previous post this winter on the blog.
A friend of mine at the college, Roland Stroebel, says to me almost daily, “I’m homesick, Jack.” By that he means that he wants to go back to his farm south of Cisco, Texas, and work with the land and his cattle. He misses his farm — homesick. When Roland’s work is done at the college, he leaves and I can see him working with his fine Angus cattle into the evening darkness.
When I am away from all of the horses and land upon which they trod, I am homesick for their companionship, their warm breath and smell. It is said: “There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a person.” I believe that with all my heart.