Thursday, September 20, 2012

A History Lesson from the Horse Judge

When we left for the fair last week, we closely resembled the Beverly Hillbillies. We had one truck pulling the camper, and the other truck pulling a stock trailer. We brought down a horse, two hogs, chickens, two dogs, and a couple of goats for a friend.  That day was utter chaos with fair weigh-ins, check-ins, and horse events going on simultaneously. 

To say we ran around like chickens with our heads cut off is a major understatement!

The first competition of the day was the ranch horse event.  The kids had to rope a dummy, drag a log 20 feet with a rope, walk over logs, across a bridge, trot, then lope a circle, open a gate and sort out 3 steers from a pen.

 Our boy roped the dummy on his first try, and moved through the course fairly well until he got to the log pulling obstacle.  Every time our son dallied the rope, Jake would back up aggressively instead of pulling forward. I could tell they were both having trouble communicating to one another. 

This is where things got interesting!

During the event, the judge (the gentlemen in the white shirt in the photo above) kept intently staring at our horse.  He walked around him and asked my son some questions in the arena.  After the event, he walked out of the arena and approached my husband about the horse.  He told us that he used to own the horse over ten years ago! He recognized his brand, and told us  he used to shoe him by himself and remembered that there was a scar above his left front hoof . Sure enough, there was!

Then he told us that our "Jake" used to be named "Tripper" and that he won several rodeos with him, using him as a heeling horse.  In fact, he told us that he once won $5,000 in one night with him!!! The horse was getting older, so he eventually sold him to a man who came into money trouble and that man didn't keep him very long. He must have changed hands, and changed names many times over the last decade.

We told him that we got Jake as a skin and bones rescue horse and it took several months of TLC and feed to put weight back on him.  The judge was deeply moved to not only see that the horse was still alive and well after all of these years, but also to see that he was being loved and taken care of by a family who adores him.

We always knew that Jake was a special horse.  We also knew that he was once used for some type of roping because he's great around swinging loops. What we didn't know was that he was a real money maker!!! Jake once had a glitzy rodeo life. Who knew?!?

He may not be making the big money anymore, but even in retirement, he's still winning ribbons in the 4-H arena. That includes this 5th place ribbon with my son in one of the timed events that night. It was so dark that my pics didn't turn out so we had to snap one the next morning.

And one more thing.....

 The fact that Jake kept backing up when the rope was dallied to him......

That all makes perfect sense after knowing that he was an old heeling horse.  He thought he was just doing his job to back up and keep the rope tight!  Mystery solved!

We've always wondered what that old horse has seen and done in his long life, and now we know a little snippet of his history. If Jake could talk, I'm sure he'd have many a story to tell as he relives his glory days in the spotlight.


  1. I love this story. It reminds me of the book Black Beauty!

  2. That is soooo cool and such a small horse world. :)