The Horses of Flying Hat

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.

Shiners Fannin Peppy

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.”

Sweet Hija

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.

Ima Lil Moore

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.

Shiners Fannin Pepto

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.

Stars Bars Moore

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.


Filed under Duncan Steele-Park, Flying Hat Ranch, Horses, Lilly, Shiners Fannin Peppy (Fanny), Shiney (Shiners Fannin Pepto), Star, Sweet Hija

19 responses to “The Horses of Flying Hat

  1. What a beautiful way to start my day. I grew up on horses, but haven’t ridden for years. I love the feel of their velvet necks. Yes, the “outside of a horse…” Lilly and Paint, the kitty, similar markings, Very nice. I love how life mirrors things. Your description of Roland being homesick: “I can see him working with his fine Angus cattle into the evening darkness,” is very moving. The ocean outside my window, your ranch in Texas, is a wonderful mirroring in it’s own way… Have a great weekend, Jack.

  2. Kittie Howard

    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.

    Because, I think, your family of horses are as much a part of your real family as Brenda and your kids and grandkids. I really enjoyed how you described each horse’s lineage, personality, and how they all interact. Perhaps it’s a Mr. Ed legacy (or Rita Mae Brown’s cute Sneaky Pie cat mysteries), but I often think horses (and cats and dogs) communicate, and definitely feel they know us humans often better than we know ourselves. What an awesome moment that must have been when you bought Hiji … so many people, such an august ranch, and you being new to the trade; wow, that took real gumption and faith in yourself. And Paint looks like a Paint. Cute how that is. Beautiful blog, Jack, about a real family that lives on a beautiful slice of heaven.

    • Kittie: Thank you for taking the time and application of feeling and intelligence to respond to my post. You are a dear friend. Wish you all were closer to us for a visit.

  3. You described them all so well! Brenda

  4. Hearing the horses nicker makes me smile. I like how you described Fanny’s vocal talents. I’ve always said that my mare, Baby Girl, is a soprano while Carter, my Arab gelding nickers an alto. Music at the feed trough. I’m going to share this page with my sister in law who has worked with horses for years. Starting colts is her specialty. Thanks for sharing a little about these beauties.

  5. Great roll call! Thank you Jack. These wonderful photos and personal histories of the Flying Hat dwellers are a treasure. You wrote of Peppy San Badger seeing Hija loaded into the trailer and it triggered a lifelong wonder of mine. How such deep and powerful animals deal with just that, being together and then watching their young being trailered away? Wish Peppy could have known what a lucky landing Hija would have with you, Brenda and the clan. Fanny and Shiney ooze vitality and personality in those photos. Star stuns me again. When I need a lift I think of Star and that moment of levitation. But, until this post with various horse comparisons, I didn’t really grasp how BIG she is. Beautiful, all.

    • Chris: Thank you for your thoughtful comment about Peppy San Badger and Hija. The cowboys at King Ranch said, at that time, that Peppy wasn’t all that active anymore, but he just loved to look at his progeny and the people, so they brought him to the stables for the two-day affair in 2003. He would stick his head out the dutch door and just look and look — old sire that he was. I knew that he was Hija’s grandsire, but his grandeur and record escaped me. I knew he was good, but how good I did not know until I read his obituary and his life’s story in Legends.

      • Love knowing the cowboys thought so much of Peppy San Badger they transported him so he could be there to take it all in. A wonderful image you’ve drawn of him from behind the dutch door, keeping watch. I used to really enjoy attending the horse races in Fresno, CA with my ranching relatives when I was younger. We would come from around the Valley to share afternoons watching those beautifully powerful horses run. Being there all day, most spent their time watching from the stands and enjoying a day of rest. My favorite spot was down by the fence where the pounding hoof vibrations could be felt and breathing heard as they passed. Humbling. Used to dream about what it would be like to be a jockey, and with the lightest signals and firm hold, circle the track on lightning. Horses…

      • Chrissie: I love the horse races. So much is done now to improve the health and well-being of the race horses. When I used to go to the track, I would do the same thing: enjoy the crowd, horses, excitement. Bet little, smile a lot. Yes, humbling. You have composed a beautiful comment.

      • For years there was a well known track near Seattle, Emerald Downs. It was sold, moved and reopened later. For some reason in all the years we have lived up here, we’ve never been. I agree, it does sound like much has been done to improve the horse racing conditions, top to bottom. Like so many other areas, things have to go wrong before they are set truly right. Happy Trails!

      • You are right, Chris. Monty Roberts and others in the horse business have worked hard to improve racing from its bad days.

    • Thank you again, Chrissie.

  6. Follow-up. I just read this post to my husband. He asked that I thank you for him, though he wonders if driving with weepy eyes will be helpful as he heads out for the Saturday paper.

  7. Leslie

    Shiners Fannin Peppy or Fanny AKA Dually is still saying the same thing at feeding time! lol

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