Missouri Horse Promise

March 9, 2011

Why horses are an important part of my life is a mystery to me.

When I was in the third grade my grand parents moved to Missouri. That summer we went to visit them and my dad got a job as an electrician in the small town of Imminence.

Eminence, Missouri

Eminence, Missouri

Naturally, when the proposed move was put to me, I didn’t want to go. All my friends were in Florida, why would I want to move to Missouri? Well, my parents were no dummies, so the first thing they told me was that my grand parents lived on a farm and I could have a horse when we got there. All of a sudden Missouri seemed like a wonderful place to live!

For the first several months of our time in Missouri we lived with Granny and Papa on their farm. It was a spectacular place for kids from the flat lands of Florida. The land was rolling foothills that seemed like mountains to us, there was a barn with a hay loft, a chicken pen filled with chickens and turkeys of all sizes and colors, a pig pen in the woods that seemed always to have baby piglets running around it, and…..HORSES!

Paperface was a white-faced plow horse that was also trained to ride. She was slow-moving and gentle with a broad back. In the middle of the summer I got caught standing up on her back as I pretended to be a circus ballerina. I was threatened with never being allowed to ride again if ever caught standing on a horse’s back again.

Dan was a pony that was meaner than a snake, could puff himself up to twice his normal size when presented with a saddle and girth, and tried to bite or kick anyone that even looked like they might want to get on him.

Sonny was Papa’s old quarterhorse. I think he was older than all of us put together, and might have even been older than Papa. His feet hurt from navicular disease so Papa had him ‘nerved’, which means the nerves in his feet were deadened. Since he couldn’t feel his feet he sometimes stumbled in the rough terrain so we didn’t ride him much.

Goldie was a Palomino mare. She was the most gorgeous horse I had ever seen, and she was about to be a mommy when we first saw her. She had a bad habit of biting and I was usually bruised somewhere on my chest or shoulders from her teeth pinching me.

Missouri was a strange place to me – like being on another planet. It seemed everyone had a horse of their own but me, and all I did was live and dream ‘horse’.

Tune in next week for the story of Aunt Neville’s trail ride.


2 Responses to “Missouri Horse Promise”

  1. kayuk said

    The oldest horse I can remember was 22 years old and died peacefully in her stall. She had the same owner all her life and went for a ride two days before her death.

    I’m not sure how old Sonny was. My grandfather and grandmother are gone as well so I can’t ask them.

  2. Mark Valcour said

    Very enjoyable horse tales! Even though I’m ‘on the record’ as a Pinto fan, I have to admit the Palomino often catches my eye as a beautiful horse.
    I’m impressed with your recall of all the horses and their names! Was Sonny one of the oldest horses you’ve known of? And, what age do you think he lived to?…

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