Jus' Plain Charlie

Page 2

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He negotiated any trail obstacle put in his path, always showing interest but never fear, no matter
who was riding him. 
He was very careful where he put those big feet, but he expected his rider
to guide him appropriately through a back up obstacle. 
If he were guided into touching a pole,
he would stop and hold his foot up in the air until told where to put it down. 
I’ve never seen anything like it. 

He carried tiny children around with never a misstep, but let an older rider offend his
sense of justice, and he would display a wicked sense of humor.

He was the perfect teacher for all ages.

Over the ten years that he was a part of our lives, he won multiple local, state, and breed show awards and ribbons,
packing tiny beginners, sassy teenagers, and beginning adults, all with equal aplomb.

He also packed my brother who suffered from debilitating MS on happy treks through the woods, across creeks,
 and over hill and dale, giving Paul a chance to once again enjoy a wilderness experience.

He received his share of ridicule through the years, but anybody who really knew him admired him
for his gentle heart and good spirit.

Amy & Charlie 1987

Robby & Charlie 1985
Crystal & Charlie 1985 Kitsap
Crystal & Charlie 1985 Bainbridge
Tracy & Charlie 1986 TU

Tracy & Charlie 1986 TU
                Tracy & Charlie 1986 Tacoma Unit
                       Tracy & Charlie 1986 Kitsap
Tracy & Charlie 1987 GH

Charlie Tales

Charlie liked to conserve energy at horse shows.  Now, I understand that all you knowledgeable horse owners out
there know that it is unsafe to tie a horse with too much slack in the rope, but Charlie requested that his be long
enough so he could lie down while tied to the trailer.  Several times members of his fan club came running over to tell
us that something was wrong with Charlie.  He was lying down with his eyes closed!  When we checked up
on him just to make sure he was OK, he would lazily open his eyes to say hello and then promptly resume napping.

We were asked to enter Charlie in a reining class to fill it.  Now, Charlie knew all the moves, but he was
old (mid 20’s), stiffer, and somewhat overweight.  His teen rider, (unbeknownst to any of us) took him back
behind the barn to “tune him up,” smacking him on the neck and using spurs to make him spin faster. 
Charlie did the pattern in his Charlie way and life went on without us suspecting that anything untoward
had occurred.  The very next weekend we were at an outside arena, and he carefully packed his 7 year old
 beginner rider through a walk, trot, lope bareback equitation class.  Next came the same teen from the reining
class who chose to ride Charlie hunt seat for his age group bareback equitation class to take advantage
of his amazingly smooth gaits.  Charlie came snorting through the in gate at a high trot and shied at stuff
around the edges of the arena (poles, people, cars, strollers, weeds, grasshoppers and who knows what else).
  When canter time came, he bolted like a freight train, ran around the arena a couple of times, and then lined
himself up in the middle completely ignoring all the efforts of the very red-faced rider.  Meanwhile, we had
found out about the elder abuse the previous week end, and folks were actually cheering for Charlie. 
The rest of the day, he was his gentle usual self.

Now you would think that would have been a lesson learned by the teen rider, but alas, it required another
repetition.  Again, unknown to us, the teen decided that Charlie needed to lift his feet higher on trail obstacles. 
And, yes, once in awhile the old man misjudged how high to pick up a foot and might brush a pole. 
Anyway, the teen rapped Charlie’s feet as he practiced the step overs.  The very next show, Charlie
very deliberately knocked down every obstacle on the course, feigned fear of the same bridge and gate
he had previously negotiated calmly to win classes.  He generally made a shambles of the entire course. 
 (I could almost swear that he winked at me as he took his big hoofs and whacked each pole.)   We assumed
 that Charlie had been done wrong again and confronted the teen who sheepishly admitted to schooling
 Charlie by rapping his ankles with poles.  I must assume that the teen did learn the lesson about what
Charlie thought was fair and not fair, at least when it came to riding Charlie.  Being a basically good horse,
he never did that again and went on with the same young man to win the state championship in trail.  One can
only hope that when that young fellow moved on, some part of those lessons tempered his relations with future horses.

Bob & Charlie 1984

Bob & Charlie TU 1984
Kathy & Charlie 1986
Erin & Charlie 1984
Erin, Dick & Charlie TU 1984

Jennifer, Robby & Charlie Tahuya 1987
Charlie enjoyed swimming.
Put a halter on him and point him toward the water and he would happily paddle wherever you wanted to go.
Being a bit too round, he floated quite high in the water, and a lot of kids had fun taking turns swimming him.

We loved playing Arabian halter without a halter.  He and I would thunder around the arena, his tail
up in the air.  It was hilarious.  Then we would stop and he would set up, stretch out his neck with that
big, old, homely head, begging for a carrot.

I can’t even count how many times those big ears were dressed in gloves to turn him into a reindeer.
He wore humiliating costumes good naturedly, and basked in all the attention he received,
especially if treats were involved.

In all the ten years we were privileged to share his life, he never once nipped, bucked, or kicked.
He was not perfect, though.  We had to twitch him to worm him.
He considered it the ultimate invasion to have a tube stuck down his nose.

He was, however, an amazing patient.  Once, while romping around in the pasture with the babies,
he stepped on a branch that stuck up and pierced his groin.  I had to doctor it daily and I only put a
halter on him the first time.  After that, he just stood with his head in the corner of the stall,
unmoving while I doctored him

Diane & Amy F Braiding at Tacoma Unit 1990
Pam & Charlie Tacoma Unit 1984
Niece Aimee & Charlie  1985
Rick, Kirsten & Charlie 1986

Half In, Half Out 1984
While Charlie was confined to stall rest, I split our foaling stall into two
temporary stalls with a sliding 2 x 6 board.
Unfortunately, I underestimated his interest in hanging out with his
very pregnant mare friend.
He pulled one end of the board down and walked right in to visit.
Moon Silver was in no mood to share her stall and told him to get out.
Now, when he went in, he walked over the low end of the board.
When she chased him out, he jumped over the high end of the board.
Well, his front half jumped over the high end.
There he was, half in and half out of her stall and afraid he was going to get killed.
That’s when I came upon the scene.
I pulled down the high side of the board, and he left really fast right through
the door which I foolishly only pulled closed and had not latched
(being in a hurry to prevent mayhem).
The mare flew out the door right behind him.
No need to panic, the gate to the road was closed, but once the heady joy of freedom sunk in, the two of them cavorted all around my carefully resurrected lawn.
To be sure, it was a brief cavorting.
Charlie was 20 something, and Moon Silver was very pregnant.
If it hadn’t been so hilariously funny, I could have been quite annoyed by all the sod flying hither and yon.

Cavorting on the Lawn 1984

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