This is the tale of a special gelding who touched the lives of a lot of people and is sorely missed.
It was a cold April morning. I couldn't sleep so I was wide awake for our long hour and a half drive south. I wasn't sure I would find anything at an auction that would rival the pony I had just come off of that I had been riding in 4-H. I had outgrown the little guy, and he was retired when the season ended so it was time. I hoped in the truck with my mom and the owner of the farm where I had been boarding. The drive was long and boring. Not what I wanted. We followed the directions to the suburbs of no idea. In the middle of all the neat same ugly houses sat a small farm. I would have called it a backyard with a fence. Already the yard was packed with cars and people looking over the objects that would soon be auctioned off. I didn't care. I got out and bought a nice hot chocolate. When I say cold, I could still see my breath that day. I paid and went to the barn. It was crowded and I spent time at all 4 stalls. First was a spotted saddle they had named "Momma" weird considering it was a gelding. Nice confirmation, good size, calm. A possibility. I went to the second a chestnut mare named "Nightmare". Not hard to figure out why she earned her name. Not a choice. I didn't like her attitude. Third was a white mare named "Down The Dark". Not much to say she was old and looked really worn down. Last was this tiny gelding. Underweight but he ignored everyone who came near him. I went in his stall and picked up his feet, opened his mouth, and did the whole checking. Good temperament, picked up easy, didn't fight me. Yes. I left the stall to get the adults I had come with to show them my 2 choices. The farm owner was more interested in the chestnut mare. He liked her color. I told him what she had done to other people who had gone in and messed with her.
The auction soon started and things were going dirt cheap. I mean dirt cheap. They sold a three horse bumper pull for $300. We had left our trailer behind. It was just supposed to be a look and see thing. They brought out "Momma" first. The old gelding stood while the numbers were rattled off. I bid a few times. I gave when it hit $1,000. I didn't really pay attention to the other two. When they brought the gelding out, I was in love. He walked with his head high and chest out. A proud gelding. He walked out and faced me the entire time I bid. I won the bid at $100. I was excited. I squealed and hugged the big boy. They put him back in his stall, and I happily paid the auction company.
The next day, we drove down with my uncle to pick him up. The trailer we were using was a HUGE stock trailer and I let him have full roam of it. He was easily loaded. No fight. I had made sure the hay net was full and tied to the trailer tight. He ate it like he hadn't seen hay in a while. We stopped at my house to show my sister and nephews the horse. No one was excited.
"He's not what you were looking for I thought," my sister complained.
"He's perfect," I stuck my tongue out at her. I knew what I had and I didn't care what anyone else thought.
Two weeks of nothing but loving and walking passed, and I decided it was time to saddle him up. My saddle is a lightweight black saddle. I slid the blanket up on him then put the saddle up. He stood perfectly still the entire time I tightened it. I took his halter off and slid the matching bridle with curb bit up to him. I was prepared for a fight and take-off but he stood and took the bit quietly. My mom was shocked and I just petted his neck. I walked him a few steps then tightened the girth. I tried to mount on the left (the normal way) but he almost fell on me so I checked the right and told my mom to call the vet to come out and check him. The right was fine and I got on him happily. I asked him to walk and at first he ignored me. I kicked him again. Nothing. Fine. I squeezed him gently with my legs and he walked right away. I was even more impressed.
Over the course of a couple months, me and him grew close. I loved to go out, ride, groom, bath, and play fetch with him. Fair soon came up and I had entered him in it. He went and refused to leave the trailer. It was getting dangerously close to check in last call. I had my leader's sister come help me try. She turned him around and he walked right off. He stuck his head high and looked around nervous then settled right down and followed her into the barn.
Fair week was amazing. He didn't spook at the rides, kids running around, the train nearby, nothing. He even stood for little kids to sit on his back and get pictures taken with him. He was the perfect gentleman. By the end of the week I was sad to see fair end. He loved the attention he got. No one was more proud of him than me.
The following year I was off due to surgery from an injury the year previous. I spent as much time with him as I could between doctors, school, and physical therapy. The next two years following were hard. First year he was limping with no reason and the second year he was moved to two different new homes.
This year was our comeback year. He was training great, running strong and had tripled almost in size since the day I got him. I was extremely excited. Fair arrived again and I loaded him into a new trailer that fit him. He even had a travel buddy. He was unloaded into the barn and he ate quietly. He knew where he was and had no complaints. He had everything he would need. Salt, grain, hay, bedding, water, apple cider vinegar (for fly control), and peanuts (weight maintainer). Plus his favorite treats (peppermint) and his pink peppermint ball. He was happy. The first day I had to fight to get him to leave his stall. He wanted to stay in and sleep. He had kids petting him while he slept and a few taking pictures with him. But he just slept. When I did get him to walk around, he just was slow and patient with people who wanted to ask questions, pet him, or take pictures with him. He broke a small fever on Tuesday but it was gone soon after. I had no fears that day. He even had a fan club. A family had asked to take a picture of him through the fence and window behind the stall. I held him so they could and when they came down on Wednesday I let each of them take a picture with him since they were already wearing shirts with his picture and name on it.
Thursday of the fair was the worst day for him. It was also a rude wake up to me that he wasn't healthy. Something was wrong with him and I couldn't ignore it. So with a few vet opinions, the large gentleman was laid to rest before his gentle kind heart gave out under the weight of his own body shortly. He was laid to rest shortly after returning home.