The American Indian Horse Registry

Author: Kelly Hurd (Page 2 of 4)

Spotlight: Wanna Fly

Getting to Know the Horses of the AIHR – Wanna Fly

When I met Fly, I knew I loved this horse. Of course I love all horses, but Fly was different. I felt we had something special between us, and I never wanted that to change.

The first time I rode Fly, I immediately noticed his amazingly smooth walk and trot. About a couple months later, I went to my second show, and I rode Fly, and it was his first show. He behaved so well. He never thought of acting a fool, and was perfect. We placed pretty darn good for my second show, and his first! We got 4th, 5th, and 6th, for different competitions.

Then I moved to Northwest Arkansas with my parents, and thought I would never see Fly again. I ended up visiting Texas again on Labor day weekend, and I went on a trail ride, but I didn’t know who I was riding. When we got to Karma Farms, I saw Vickie with a horse that looked like Fly, but I didn’t say anything because I didn’t want to sound stupid. My mom asked Vickie if it was Fly, and it was! I was so happy. On the trail ride I had a blast and I wish it could have lasted even longer.

After the ride in Texas I came back to Arkansas and started taking lessons in Dressage. After I rode Fly onLabor day weekend, I posted on Facebook about wanting to get a horse of my own. Laura, Fly’s owner, mentioned calling her about Fly. That night I begged my parents to call her. Then they told me to go upstairs and they talked and told me that I was most likely getting Fly.

A month later, we went back to Texas and picked up Fly. I was so happy, and glad it worked out! On the ride home, which was six hours, I made my parents stop and I checked on Fly every forty minutes. When we arrived at the place I took Dressage lessons, and also boarded horses, we took Fly to a paddock and I walked him around and let him graze on the green grass, and let him munch on some hay.

A week later, I started riding Fly at Manuel Farm. After we got a lot of practice and lessons, we went into the arena and rode, and got a break from the round pen. We started trotting and cantering.

After a month of being at Manuel, we went on our first trail ride and we both really enjoyed it. Then we started going on road rides, which was on a quiet dirt road.

Now, about five months later, we have been working hard, and started Dressage in English tack! Even though Fly is a trail horse by trade, he is doing wonderful in Dressage!

I honestly don’t know what I would do without Fly right now, we have taught each other so much, and gone through many things, but have always managed to stay together, and now forever!

Written By: Ashton Smith

Spotlight: Scarlet


My Angel Horse

I raised my Appaloosa mare, Scarlet Nation, from a foal.  She had been born a solid colored filly in a world that only wanted spots.  I got her as a three month old and about the size and color of a large Irish Setter, hence her name.  In her youth she was a sparky devil, spooking and whirling, playing and bucking.  She was never mean about it, just high spirited.  Together, we did trail riding and competitive endurance riding both of which take a lot of time in the saddle.  As she grew and matured we bonded and tested each other daily.

At the time I was active duty Air Force and July 4, 1991 I left to serve in Desert Storm.  I spent over three months as the Chief Dispatcher in Vehicle Operations in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia.  While we were definitely a rear line unit, we supported the brave fighters that lived in the tents and the tanks.  I saw no action except in the vehicle yard and behind my desk.

However, part of my job was to inspect vehicles that came back from the desert.  No one knew what they had been exposed to as we had no way of testing them. Then, of course, there was the oil well smoke that blew in daily from Kuwait in the north.  It came down on us like pea soup.  There were days that the men couldn’t see to drive to do their jobs.  It was insidious, grey, oily and we breathed it constantly.  And the omnipresent desert sand was everywhere.  We drank it in our water, we ate it in our food and we wore it with our clothes.  It got into every crevice and orifice of our bodies.

When I finally returned from Saudi in October of 91, I seemed fine for several months.  Then the following fall, there seemed to be a virus going through the veterans of the conflict.  I was diagnosed in August with pneumonia.  That seemed to be ‘the moment’ my life changed.  Later, I decided to take the early out in the drawdown of 1994. I left the military with a small disability for sinusitis, but I still felt pretty good overall.

This put me back into the civilian work force in my mid forties still making me a viable commodity.   I took a job with a small city as a police dispatcher.  My second year there I was exposed to pepper spray and developed a case of sinus and inner ear problems.  I went to a civilian doctor who asked me how long I’d had asthma.

Needless to say, I was shocked.  I’d always been very healthy and active and had never been diagnosed in the military.  This was new.  I gave him copies of my military health records and he was able to pinpoint its development.  During the last 14 years, I’ve been hospitalized many times with bronchitis, pneumonia, and acute asthma attacks.  Once, I stopped breathing in the ambulance and awoke 28 hours later in the Emergency Room.

When I returned to civilian life I had been looking forward to trail riding and competing in Endurance Racing on Scarlet.  We had done a few rides in the twenty five mile distance category and had begun to finish successfully when the diagnosis was given.  But after a while, the asthma began to take its toll on me.  Needless to say, my health issues wadded up my dreams of competition and threw them in the trash heap.

Through the initial diagnosis and early treatments, I had two different doctors recommend that I sell my horse and get rid of my dogs even though I had not tested allergic to either of them.  They predicted that my animals would make my breathing ailments worse.  Only my primary care physician, a sport medicine specialist, supported me here.  He said that my dogs and my horse were too important to me.  And regarding my horse and my riding, however little I did, she would be my main impetus I would have to stay active.  As far as he was concerned, if I sold my horse, I’d only regret it.   My husband agreed with him.  He said that he knew that Scarlet wasn’t going anywhere, except maybe to an early retirement.

As my physical problems worsened, I went several years where there were days that I could barely drag myself to the barn to feed and care for Scarlet.  We hardly ever rode out on the big trails anymore.  Sometimes, I would just take her for a walk on a lead, some days I could only groom her.  I’d gained a lot of weight due to medications, lost a lot of muscle mass and my balance was gone.  When I did manage to get in the saddle it was to poke around the arena and immediate area.

I also began to notice that Scarlet was changing too.  She was becoming steadier, kinder and had quit all her kittenish tricks.  It was as if she knew that I was not well and she went out of her way to be gentle.  She was always careful of me and easy to ride.  She would stand patiently at the mounting block for as long as it took me and stop whatever we were doing when I had a coughing fit.

One memorable day sticks in my mind.  I hadn’t felt well for several days but it was a fine spring morning and I was bound and determined to get out into the sunshine.  I saddled Scarlet and we took off at a quiet walk down the local trail towards a park area.  As we traveled, a large dog appeared on the way and began to try to chase us.  He’d bark and run at her legs and even tried to nip her.

I was upset and scared that she would spook and bolt away from him.  I was afraid that I would become unseated and fall during the attack leaving me to be bitten or at the very least, injured by the fall.  But Scarlet refused to panic.  She laid her ears back at the dog, kicked out and made little charges at him, finally intimidating him into abandoning his attack on us.

After he left, we turned back towards the barn.  The stress and fear of the attack quickly turned a slight sinus pressure headache into a full blown migraine and imminent asthma attack.  I was not far from passing out and falling out of the saddle completely.  When we finally got back to the barn I was barely able to unsaddle her and put her in her paddock.  I managed to drive the short distance to my home and help myself past the asthma attack.

After a long hot shower, proper medications and a nap I recovered enough to go back out to the barn to check on my horse and give her the evening meal.  One of my friends was at the barn tending her horse also.  She approached me and asked what had happened that morning since Scarlet was lame and obviously had not been tended properly.

When I explained about the dog attack, she went with me up to my mare’s pen.  There she showed me a small puncture wound on my horse’s fetlock.  I believe that the dog had actually bitten her at some point but Scarlet had stood her ground, refusing to panic and run away with me.  She not only remained calm under the pressure of the attack by a large dog, but she had successfully defended us, and then made sure that she returned her incapacitated rider to safety.

This is only once of many times where, when faced with bad situations, my horse has shown not only extreme good sense but has taken responsibility for my welfare.  The only ‘bad’ thing that she does is when in a crowd of other horses she will lay back her ears and make aggressive motions.  When another horse reached out to touch her with his nose, she actually kicked him.  Once, while at a seminar, I spoke to a trainer about her ‘bad’ actions.  After listening to my story and questioning me further, he explained that my mare had taken a protective posture for me.  He said when and if I regained my health I could take the dominant role back from her slowly.  But he also emphasized that I should remember WHY she’d done it…for my welfare.

I am now fifty eight years old.  Scarlet is twenty two. That is not an outlandishly old age for either of us by any means but certainly one of maturity and wisdom.  She has not only recognized that I am disabled and that I depend upon her to act well while I’m riding but she has gone a step farther.  Scarlet has taken it upon herself to insure that I am kept safe by her intelligence and sensitivity to my needs.

Oh, we still have our fun hours too.  She still plays and spooks a little when we’re both feeling good and a fresh breeze is blowing.  And I’m hoping that with some new medications that are helping stabilize my condition that we can once again venture out to more distant trails and new adventures.  I know that she will enjoy seeing new surroundings as much as I will.

But I know that my Scarlet is more than just a pet, or a working animal.  She is my partner.  She has allowed me to continue to enjoy a way of life that most people at my age and situation would have given up.  Her happy whinny and soft careful touches at my arrival in the mornings and evenings continuously encourage me to keep on trying and pushing my limits.  She allows me the freedom to continue to continue to fulfill my love of the outdoors and experience nature’s beauty.  Her consideration of my physical frailty has allowed me to stay active and alive.  She is my angel horse.

Spotlight: Keerah

Getting to Know the Horses of the AIHR – Iced Bonanza, “Keerah”

About three years ago, I was on the hunt for a horse. We searched the paper and craigslist for a place to board. Hooray. A place in the paper. We set up a day to go look at the property, and it was gorgeous. Spacious, and had some awesome trails. We came to an old cow pasture that he used to put his cattle in. I didn’t notice anything, as we kept moving. He showed us a wash rack/drinking area, and moved on. We made it back to his barn, and he asked Kandie, my brothers fiancée, and I if we had known anyone missing a red roan mare. We looked at each other confused and shook our heads. We made our way back down to the old cattle pasture and came to find a gelding that was VERY thin, and a little mare. We had to go through a gate into the pasture with the gelding, slipping and sliding in the mud. Luckily the gelding was just a gentle giant. I nicknamed him Big Fella. He even seemed to come to it when I called him. I then came to another gate to get to the mares pasture. After closing it, nearly getting stuck in the mud in the process, I walk up to her slowly. Her head was always low, and never set high. I reached out to her and touched her face. Kandie looked her over, too. Picking up all four of her feet. I rubbed on her ears and face, and my dad checked her mouth, trying to distinguish age. We guessed she was about 10.

She had been on his property for a long while. A few months with no apparent attention to her needs. We went back to the man’s shop and called animal control and asked how many days an animal has to be unclaimed on a property before it’s considered abandoned. Since she was considered abandoned, he asked me if I would like to have her. She would be free. He only wanted her off of his ‘property’. He wrote a Bill of Sale and she was mine all mine.

After about a week, she was moved to a better pasture, and soon acquired a new friend, Patch. I was asked by my new BO if I would mind bottle feeding a set of twin calves. Well, duh! My new routine was to go up and see the horses in the morning, then later in the evening feed the twins and feed the horses again thereafter.

Everything was going wonderful for a few weeks. We even got asked if we wanted to switch pastures to a much bigger one. Sure! Only, I had to share with a girl who never paid her rent, had dying horses, and was just overall no good. I told my BO I didn’t want to if it meant staying with her, and I was informed she was being evicted.

Now, this was the woman who had supposedly owned Keerah, but she kept telling the BO she didn’t know who this mare was. I called her at work and told her, ‘Sorry. I didn’t want to share the pasture.’ She seemed upset, but my horses were not going to be put into danger because of her. A couple days passed and we waited for the O.K. to move into the new pasture.

The day was like a normal morning. Went up to see my horse, newly named, Keerah. Later that day I went up and fed the twins as normal, and was happy to go see my girl, only she wasn’t in the pasture when I got there. I got out and slammed the door to the car and struggled to get the gate open. After swinging the gate open, and locking it behind me. I ran along the fence line, screaming her name. There was no downed fence and no trace of her jumping it. I dropped to my knees at the water trough and just began to cry. My dad came running to my side and was at a loss. I was determined to know what happened to my horse. I ran to the pasture entrance. Ah hah. Tire marks. Hoof prints. She was stolen.

I posted a Craigslist ad about a stolen horse in the Curry County/Del Norte area. I got a lot of replies wishing me luck, but nothing on her being found. I added a phone number. A week and nothing. I was more depressed than ever. To try and help keep myself going, I searched for her in other places.

I got a phone call a couple days later. Some girl saying she trailered the horse to her owner after a sale didn’t go through with her horse. I was amazed. I said, ‘That can’t be, as I’M the horses owner.’ The poor girl seemed so confused. I asked for the phone number to Keerah’s ‘owner’ and gave her a call. Seemed she was expecting my phone call.

She told me she had been selling Keerah to that woman on my BOs property. She was supposed to be trading 2 horses and 1,000 dollars for her. Come to find out, the two horses she was going to be trading weren’t even hers. And Keerah’s previous owner didn’t see a lick of money. She waited 4 months, with communication back and forth between them in e-mails, the lady buying Keerah stating she was having a wonderful time riding her in the snow on some trails. (First off, what snow? Second, Why wait 4 MONTHS of no payment from this lady). The lady buying Keerah called her up (I’m guessing the day I told her I didn’t want to share the pasture) and said she wouldn’t be able to care for Keerah anymore and to come get her.

So, there’s the story there, supposedly.

She told me I could have her for 2,000 dollars. I nearly dropped the phone. Two-thousand dollars? I just gave the phone to my mom. Come to find out, My mom knew this lady when she worked for the Veteranarian. Very crazy lady. She also happens to be the one who shot Lilly for kicking her, after buying her, knowing she had a kicking problem. Lilly was a little mare my dad was going to rescue. Always came in with her ‘sick animals’, when nothing was wrong with them. I cried for a long while, and continued to search for another horse, knowing I couldn’t afford a 2,000 dollar horse.

Later that week, I get a phone call from the same lady, and she informs me that I need to buy her. She’s become depressed, won’t eat or drink, and doesn’t even enjoy the company of her gelding boyfriend. She is worried for the sake of Keerah, and says she’ll drop the price in half to 1,000. I hand the phone to my dad, and we actually scheduled a pick-up date. I’m getting my baby back.

My dad and I got to the Rite-aid parking lot and she’s there waiting for us. My window is down and I can hear Keerah scream at the sound of the truck. She begins to nicker and whinny. I run up to the trailer and just begin to cry. She tells me she hasn’t seen her this happy since before she left. She was munching on some hay and I kept hand feeding it to her. She’d push the hay at me, and I’d give it to her. My dad made the transaction and signed the paperwork, as I was not of legal age then. I signed under his name as legal owner, and my dad signed as the legal guardian.

Finally, she was officially mine. I got her back, and her roaning had just covered her whole body. She had greyed out a LOT in the little time she left, but came back with a few more fears.

This lady LAUGHED as she told me she whipped her all over the field to keep her in her designated eating area. (What the heck is that.. Seriously?!?) She told me she needed to use a twitch on her to worm her, as she’d rear. She told me to take her nostril and twist it tightly and worm her. I looked at her in shock, and was so happy she was back in my possession..

Thinking back on it now, I should have taken her to court. It wasn’t my issue, and she had been abandoned on someone’s property, and she sat there for 4 months. But, she’s mine, and I lock up EVERYTHING now. No one is taking her from me. Ever. Ever. Again.

I tried to shorten our story a bit, as it was a heck of a long adventure, but she’s mine, and that’s all I care about. I love her so much!!!

~ Story written by Keerah’s mom, Terrah Yoacham

Spotlight: Sid

Hello my name is Brooke Sims and my Best Friends name is Dance Inside The Sun. This is our story.

Ever since I was little, I longed for the day when me and my family would have horses. As the days without horses grew longer, I started to think the possibility of me getting a horse was just a distant wish. Finally I got my first horse or so I thought, but it wqasn’t the right fit. I tried several horses that I chose, but sadly none chose me. After three years maybe even longer of trying to find a horse, I was near to giving up when we decided to try one last horse. We were at Karma Farms where Mrs. Vickie was showing us the new yearlings and 2 yr olds they just got, because the pony I had at the time was crazy and had ran off with me and reared up with Miss Vickie. As she and my mom were talking, I was rather glum and crying, because I was dang near positive that none of them would be the one.

A shining horse, the color of the sun, was about to change that thought. He came up to me while I had my back turned then he started licking my face, he even licked my tears away. Miss Vickie said, “Don’t let that colt bite you”, but I knew he wouldn’t because it was him, my favorite horse in the world. I had seen him before, but I figured that I couldn’t afford a horse as perfect as him even in wildest dreams. We stood there for a long time him licking my face and me giggling because it tickled. Miss Vickie told my mom that we should stop looking because this colt had just picked me and she saw the connection too. (It’s a good thing they saw it too, because I thought maybe I was hallucinating due to the fact he was my dream horse.) As my mom always says where there is a will there is a way. I was determined to have him as my own. A couple of months before I had done the local goat show and sold my goat for $500, but that wasn’t enough so I decided to spend my money. I went to the sale barn and got a couple of flashy colts for just at $300. Then I trained those horses on groundwork and sold one for $750 and another for $300. There were three good things that came from training those horses; 1. Horse Training Experience, 2.Learning Responsibility and How to Stretch My Money, 3. Last but certainly not least, I got to buy Dance Inside the Sun.

Soon after taking Dance Inside the Sun (who we call Sid or Sidney for short) home, we started week one of basic training. Day 1 he was home: I taught him how to walk and trot in hand. Day 2: I taught him to back up and lift each and every hoof. Day 3: we reviewed what we learned and he got rewarded with a whole day to graze. Day 4: we practiced walking and trotting over logs, creeks, and other things that he might one day come across. Day 5: I started teaching him to work on the lounge line (Walk, Trot, and Lope). Day 6: we finished part two of lounge line training (reverse, face, etc.). Day 7: final day of basic training we reviewed over everything, practiced loading the trailer, and I rewarded him.  Astonished by his ability to understand, I just seemed to start falling head over heels for him even more. They say a horse can’t understand you and not to waste your breath, but I beg to differ. I love Sid and he understands everything I say and do. He is better than any horse I had ever had and I thought that was just how he was with everyone… so I decided to let my sisters see what they could do with him. Sure enough I was wrong , that love I had for him was the same love he had for me. When the girls would ask him to do things, he was alright, but he just wasn’t the same for them as he was for me. I was happy to know he loved me as much as I loved him.

Over the summer, he was still too small to ride so every day I went over everything we learned then I added something each time. First I would groom him, and then we would work for exactly 15 minutes on the longe line, after that I would try a new piece of tack on him, when I finished that we would start learning new things. Every other day instead of trying on more tack we would work on desensitization. Soon I had him able to wear a blanket, a saddle, a girth, a breast collar, and a bridle. He was also completely desensitized to pooches, rain slickers, Wal-Mart bags, paper sacks, bubbles (surprisingly scared him at first), and anything else you could think to try. After that summer he became the best horse I could have ever wished for. Then one day after going to the vet and getting the ok to start him under saddle, I got on his back. After about 30 minutes of riding he was able to walk, trot, extended trot, lope, and back up. (I think mostly because he already knew it on the ground.)

When I finished riding that day I went home to make a list of everything I was going to try tomorrow. The next day I tried testing his skills to the limit to find what he couldn’t do and were his awesomeness stopped. So I stood up on his back, rode side saddle, rode backwards, rode bareback, stood up bareback, but there was just no end. He wanted to be ridden. Every day I went out the he would grab the saddle pad, the saddle and then I would saddle him up. One time when I finished grooming him, he picked up the hairbrush and brushed my hair. Sid is the best horse I have ever had and I wouldn’t doubt it if he was the best in the world. He always made me feel bad when it was time to leave for the night because he would stick his head in the door, then when I would close it and my mom would start driving, he would run up from behind, and start whinnying. I love him with all my heart and could never live without him.

Now, after being under saddle for a couple of months, I could never have asked for a better horse. He may not be the fastest, but he has a heart of gold. The one only time I ever fell off him (because I lost my balance when we were running) he came and stood right next to me, and let me grab his neck to help myself up. Then he followed me with his head down all the way to the house, even though I wasn’t leading him. After that I went in the house to clean the dirt off of my clothing, he stayed right where I left him and called the whole time I was gone. He was happy when I came back and got back on him. I don’t know if that means anything to anyone else, but it sure as heck shows me he is an amazing horse, because it was not even his fault that I fell, but he was still worried about me. Now, whenever I try to make him go fast, he will not do it if I’m not balanced correctly.

Overall, I think that Dance Inside the Sun is the most amazing horse I have ever had. Hopefully one day everyone who is searching for their perfect match will find one just as good as mine with my little Sidney. I love him more than anything and I don’t know how I would live without him. Thank you for reading our story and if you love Sid as much as me you can follow him on facebook under “Dance Inside The Sun”.

Spotlight: Zam

Shazam War Horse And Protector

Jerry, Shazam, Patricia Leopold, and Curtis. Thanks Patti for Sharing Zam's story with us. We will always treasure him!

Oh my goodness where to start! I guess it would begin as a dream. My dream sent to me by the laughing spirit of Beau, my 4 year old colt who had recently passed from a hard to diagnose choke. The dream? It was of a blue sclera eye surrounded by freckles.

Soon after that, a friend, Gretchen Patterson, pointed out a horse at Karma Farms in Marshall, TX as needing a person. He was a big gangly 8 year old primitive looking gelding that had just been green broke by Doug Norush. When the big dun turned to look at me, his eyes followed my every step around the yard. It was then I noticed his left eye was ice blue surrounded by freckles! I had to look again because the other eye was a soft brown. I had to have him. I was told he was too much of a horse for me (true enough). But Beau had spoken.

He and I then spent time, many ground hours together in the yard. In a very short time, I could go out to the pasture, and call him. He would look up (even while eating) neigh hello, and canter over to me to be haltered with me having just a treat in my pocket. Somehow he knew I had an advanced case of arthritis in my knees and could not walk far to get him without pain. I took lessons on him, in the closed pasture at Karma Farms and when he/we trotted his easy working trot I was in heaven. The problem with Zam and me though, a slow trot was not his forte’ and he and I both knew it. I came off of him once – hard – the first time we went out into the big pasture. It was a shock because before he slipped and I panicked, he and I had been strutting our stuff with him showing the other horses he was carrying his Mom, and me, I was just happy.

Shortly after that I had to have a series of unrelated surgeries. After each one visitors and regulars at Karma Farms would see the two of us sharing time on the lawn in front of my house. Me in a chair sitting and reading, and he quietly eating grass next to me, checking to make sure I was okay every once in a while.

Shazam was growing into quite a horse. A very good friend Curtis George rode him in NATRC and at the Tejas AIHR shows for me 2009. I have some gorgeous pictures of the two of them from both venues. It was Zam’s first try, and he needed some work. Curtis was just happy to be on a horse that liked to move without a whole lot of encouragement. After that Curtis had his own horses to work on, but I was happy to have seen my baby in action with someone. After that, Zam became a pasture ornament and weekend companion to me. His favorite job was watching the new babies for their mommas in spring.

In late 2009 a man named Jerry Hilligoss came to work at Karma Farms. Vik Ives said he looked at all the horses on the place and asked about Zam. She told him, “Not for sale Jerry. He belongs to Mrs. Leopold.” Then the fall days quickly turned into the next June, and after one knee surgery, I had Zam up and was grooming and fussing over him. The tall lean Oklahoman approached me and asked if he could ride him. I believe this was the beginning of the development of an incredible friendship.

Jerry started riding Zam at the Tejas July AIHR show. They were a photogenic pair together, and an entertaining one. Both shared the need for speed. Jerry always said they were both adrenaline junkies. Unlike Zam the Protector with me, this was Shazam the War Horse in action. In September of 2010 they were paired up for the first time at the AIHR National Show. Jerry had been conditioning Zam for NATRC and possibly AERC, so he was a “trail monster.” Muscled like no other horse in the ring, Jerry and Zam were a sight to see. This incredible horse shined in halter. My once gangly big headed baby won overall “O” Gelding and Overall “O”. That boy in motion could turn heads! The speed events continued the Jerry and Zam show. They went from “eating gate” in one event to the fastest times imaginable in another. We ended the show with Overall Reserve Champion Senior Adult Rider and the Kiamichi Wildfire award for High Point Gelding.

They started on NATRC that fall as well together. Zam got a reputation for the dun Appaloosa butt out in the front in the open events. Jim Edmondson at Optical Harmonic’s pictures captured their friendship developing over the season. Their placings were haphazard – but they had fun and Zam was happy.After the John Zinc NATRC ride up near Jerry’s family in Sand Springs, OK last summer, I was surprised to notice that with their first place there, and the points totals they had accumulated, a chance for a National Championship for 2011 in the Open Category through NATRC was within reach. The race was on.

We did take some time out for the 2011 Nationals, where a more sophisticated and finished Zam still knew how to entertain. In the trail class, apparently the white bridge Jerry asked him to cross was seen by our horse as a bad and threatening monster. Jerry said Zam came to the bridge, sniffed it, reared up on his hind legs and came crashing down on top of it. After this, he blithely walked across it. No more bad guy white bridge – everyone could now pass safely! This performance leaves an indelible picture of his true nature to anyone willing to see it – War horse for the strong/protector of the weak. Rick Sims had it right Zam was a real working horse. Jerry and Zam won high point total for the Southeast Regional Show and the AIHR/National Show.

Our Championship run came to an end in Pole Canyon ride in the beginning of October when Zam slipped and came up lame and had to pull the second day. It would have to be in 2012 and Jerry and I started immediately to plan. I have great memories of the 2011 challenge time though. In Topeka, KS during Riding for the Rescue in Region 6 I heard one woman exclaim “I recognize that skinny mustang butt! That horse WALKS at minimum 4-1/2 miles per hour!” They called him Jerry’s “little work truck” there. Another was at Pole Canyon NATRC in West Texas where he got an 8/1 P&R. Larry Gould who took his respiration said later, “it was almost a zero, but I caught that one breath at the end.”

One clear memory I have is set in the early morning light at Pole Canyon, an incredibly beautiful and ethereal place. This is a picture in my head of Zam and Jerry, both with heads bowed. Zam is in his bright red blanket and Jerry in his Mexican blanket poncho, watching from above the trail as the horses and riders went out on that second morning.

Well all dreams apparently must come to an end. Zam was out on a conditioning ride in Oklahoma on Sunday October 16, when he slipped, lost his rider and ran for his “heart” home, Jerry’s place on the Osage Indian Reservation. 100 yards from safety he got hit by a pickup truck and suffered severe spinal injuries. Jerry was in contact with me at my home in Texas up until 12 AM that Sunday night when he asked if he could put him to sleep himself. Jerry always knew what was best for Zam and I told him that, and to take care of our horse. So Zam went to his final sleep with his head in the lap of his best and true friend Jerry.
As with all dreams only some of it is remembered . I hope I remember all the good things. And yes, my heart is sad – but I know he is now running in the skies with no one telling him when to stop, and maybe pausing every once in a while, with his head bowed looking down on me, and Jerry and everyone that admired and loved him, watching us trotting out for our next ride.

By: Patricia Leopold


As we rode the miles together the two of us made one.

But every mile we made , made both our lives more fun.

I needed him, he needed me – a perfect balance few could see.

No matter where we had to go he would never dream of saying no.

Another horse will never be the special friend he was to me

This horse they said no man could stand I trusted more than any man.

Many horses await me on the other side but he’s the one I’ll catch and ride

Of all the memories we created in my heart they are all gold plated

Ropen ‘ riden’ huntin’ treasure – no way he would quit you ever.

If you could rope it – he could pull it and pass the others like a bullet

Now he’s crossed over to the other side we’ll meet there & true skies we’ll ride

Don’t know what I’ll do til then – I think I’ll turn my saddle in.

By: Jerry Hilligoss

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