Saturday, May 24, 2008

Our Latest Baby

I am showing you a picture of one of my dad’s horses and her baby. They are American Saddlebreds. The mother is Sea Princess and the baby is her latest. A lawyer who wound up helping my dad get fair prices for his horses after his stroke is now her owner-- after paying my mother a fair price! What I loved about Lynne was how much she and several people close to my parents made certain that they were not taken advantage of-- they didn't charge my mother for the feeding and care of my dad's horses, and they held out for good prices when they sold. Princess initially came to Alaska with a baby who we’d call Chugiak Sunshine. Sunny almost died of strangles and the vet was pleading with my dad to put her down. Princess was livid and was charging everyone who came into her stall and freely bit and stomped and I think that she broke someone’s toe. My dad refused to put Sunny down and everyone was calling Princess a mean horse. My dad said she was kind—she looked so softly at Sunny, he said she couldn’t be mean and that he was not putting her baby down or drugging the mother. Princess was nuzzling her, making her eat, constantly neighing at her. The vet kept saying, "Glen, in my opinion. . ." I heard my dad on the phone to him during that nightmare and I knew what the vet had said when I heard my dad say, "Everyone has two things: an a--h--- and an opinion and I don't want to hear about either of yours right now. We are not putting that filly down or drugging that mare! Leave it up to the mare and to God, and I'll tell you when I want your G-d-d---ed opinion!" Sunny lived!

Princess is 17.5 hands tall at her shoulder—tall enough for my dad to ride! My dad was very tall and imposing in his figure and he looked even taller, but very wrong on smaller horses. She’s huge and scared people. She didn’t let anyone near her and after she’d been up at the ranch for a bit, my dad decided that it was time to ride her. She’d been cast aside at her former ranch as a brood mare and abused by what we have concluded were ranch hands of a certain ethnic group at the AZ ranch she lived at—she would never tolerate a male of a particular ethnic group near her. Friends came by to help my dad break her in but she charged every one of them. Nothing was quite as scary as seeing her rear up on her hind legs—she looked like something out of Revelations! My dad knew she’d do OK because she responded to him by going into the coral, into her stall, eating, whatever, by when he opened doors or brought out food. Sea Princess didn't have to be lead. When Sunny gave my dad a bad time, Princess got upset with her and you could tell that she was scolding her by the tone of her neighs. She was a smart horse. When my dad decided to work with her, she went into charge mode. My dad went onto his knees. (I was in the living room ready to dial 911. I thought he was praying!) After a while she started sniffing him, then she would charge again. My dad didn’t move and kept talking to her. On one of her “flybys” she took his whip, then she looked at him and my dad was so funny, “Well, looks like you don’t like that!” She saw that he wasn’t reacting and then stomped the thing, picked it up with her teeth and threw it around and stomped it some more and neighed loudly at my dad, went up on her rear legs and charged him again, stopped two feet away from him and made dust at him, and saw that she could not rouse him. Several weeks later, he was riding her. I don’t think he would ever use a whip in her presence.

She and Sunny were my dad’s pets. He loved all of his horses but those two were a bit spoiled. They were the last to leave the ranch after he died. She went to the lawyer’s ranch. When she got there and got her out of the trailer, a bunch of little kids who took lessons there ran over, “It’s a Barbie horse!” They would wash her and she'd roll in the dirt and they'd wash her again-- she was always good with my older kids, too! The lawyer got a traveling trophy named for my dad down there—they used to not like palominos and put them down, even when my dad started breeding 15 years ago. Well, he liked the palominos and started breeding for them. A lot of people didn’t like that and he actually made enemies over it. (It wasn’t because he liked palominos that he made the enemies. They’d push their ideas like passionate people do, and my dad had a way with words and managed to tick them off.) I just got an email from my “sister” (one of my dad’s adopted in friendship daughters who is my age) and found out that so many of his horses are having babies of their own and winning championships. That makes me so happy. My dad isn’t watching his children from Heaven; he’s now got the best seats in the house at the shows! I told him he would do that.

Princess is 22 years old and you can tell this by her swayed back—and her uterus is not what it was. The vet said there was a one in several thousands of a chance that she’d get pregnant and carry it to term. (She has an official condition but I forget what it is.) They think my dad influenced the outcome! My sister-in-friendship owns Sky Guy, a horse who was born blind the day that she had a tragic accident and the doctors wanted to let her die, too.

I've often spoken of my crazy issues with my dad-- he was a colossal jerk except when it came to his horses and he didn't let any of us get close to them. Yes-- I have an issue with this, but he is gone now and all I can do is share my own passions with my children and not repeat that mistake. I've started to see the horses as his art and calling. I used to be sad hearing about his horses-- but now not at all. I am glad that he had the vision of carrying through and that they and their offspring are fulfilling destinies that he said they would. For the story of the Little Princes' birth (he doesn't have a name yet) click here to Lynne's ranch. (Also checkout her other horses! She also has donkeys and they are sooooo cool!) I wish that I could foresee one day owning a horse from my father's line but I doubt it will happen with costs of getting one up here one day and just what they are worth! I am grateful that she mentions my dad there and pays a little tribute to him in her stories of Sea Princess.

1 comment:

Emperor Ropi said...

Once I was riding a horse and it was horrible to me. I have a quite serious fear of height and I can be freaked out when I stand on a chair whose one leg is a bit shorter than the others and it makes it unstable.