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| Charlie came to us
the summer of 1981.
He was not a rescue horse, probably never missed a meal or worming his entire life, and did not have
a single problem that ever manifested.
Why, you ask, would this paragon of horsedom need to find a home?
His owner could no longer keep him, and she wanted to find a home where he would be loved and cared for
until the end. He was already a young 20 year old but as yet had no health problems. Showing the elderly
Appaloosa in western classes was difficult because he preferred the Indian shuffle instead of a jog
(which is pleasantly easy to ride but not acceptable in the show ring).
To add to that, he was very old school, to put it politely, and at best could only be called homely:
big head, long ears, tiny eyes, and a lot of white to keep clean.
But it didn’t take long for Charlie to make friends and influence people everywhere.
Plain Charlie summer 1981
& Charlie Win Trail-1982
& Charlie Indian Shuffle-1985
Charlie came to live with us, we had to sell all of our show horses to
a) pare down our budget and b) maintain our status as a business.
I guess geldings don’t count as advertising expenses, no matter how well they do at the horse shows.
My son, Chuck, was twelve years old at the time and promised to never forgive me for selling his buddies
and companions. I had ultimately decided that to make ends meet, I would need to give lessons,
and to do that, I accepted Charlie as a school horse which was another slap in the face to my unhappy son.
Chuck vowed to NOT ride him, but in the end, Charlie won Chuck over as well.
He would never replace Chuck’s beloved Joker (and there are a lot of stories to tell there as well),
but Charlie had some qualities that Joker never had, one of which was his total honesty.
It is so rare to have a horse which has been going around and around the show ring for fifteen or so years
to NOT be ring sour, or at least to cheat a little bit, but it was not until almost ten more years passed
before he began to think about cutting the pony rides short.
|Giving Lessons in the Rain 1982|
|Brian & Charlie Lesson
(Old Boulder Knoll)
||Brieta & Charlie Lesson
(New Boulder Knoll)
||Another Trail Win with
|My son eventually left horses to
pursue his loves of soccer, cars, and computers, but still had
a bit of “show off the horse stuff” in him. The school horses slept in the indoor arena, and he would
take his friends out to the barn, wake Charlie up, play Roy Rogers by leaping onto Charlie’s back over his
ample rump, no halter or lead rope required.
We were mighty poor when Charlie came into our lives and we had no money for a tractor or drag
to keep the dirt in the arena leveled. We created a drag by folding bunch of non-climb fencing over and over.
I’d seen an article about ground driving a horse with the lines through the stirrups, so why not use ropes
attached to the saddle horn, run through the stirrups, and then to the drag?
My friend sat on the drag to make it heavy enough to function, and I led Charlie around the arena.
This could have gone wrong in so many ways, but Charlie took it all in good stride, and we got that arena drug.
You could guide Charlie with a string around his nose unless he felt that he had been used badly,
and then his mouth was like a bar of iron.
He could do a western riding pattern, patiently waiting to be cued for every lead change
even though he must have done the pattern hundreds of times.
If a young rider forgot to ask him to change leads, he changed on his own when he was turned for the next cone.
It did make him difficult to cue for a counter canter because if the rider were not totally definite
about holding him on that wrong lead, he just figured the rider was mistaken and quietly went about
fixing the problem. The old man did prefer drop step changes, but they were so smooth that 90%
of folks never realized they were not flying changes.
|Another Trail Win 1984|