I LOVE WHEN THIS HAPPENS!
On the 4th of July, I posted a blog about parade saddles. You can read it here.
The first photo I featured (and the photo that was uploaded to FaceBook for that day ) was the one posted below.
Many, many readers wrote in, commented on or replied to FB, speaking about this beautiful image.
Well… one of the people who wrote was the horse’s actual owner!!
I love this kind of connection that happens via the power of the Internet… I was thrilled to hear from her.
She kindly said a few words about Nick. I’ve posted them below.
Clearly, he is loved and appreciated.
And, for me, putting a story and a personality onto the image, just adds to the beauty.
THE NOTE FROM NICK’S OWNER
The horse that you have pictured at the very top of your blog post is mine. And, I’m riding him. He is a rescue horse. He has been written up in multiple magazines, and has presented the flag throughout the country. At 20, he just wore the silver at a show for the last time … will probably do some more street parades.
He is my parade “trainer” horse – when I have a new rider, they go on Nick to learn the ins and outs of riding in a parade. And yes, it takes tons of work to get a parade horse ready!
To add, he is an AMERICAN SADDLEBRED. His registered name is I’m W.O. Bentley. His barn name is “Nick” which stands for “In the Nick of Time” as we rescued him 3 days from being shipped to slaughter.
His sire is Talent Town and his dam is Sultan’s Lou Lou. He was bred by Ruxer Farms of Indiana. He has presented the flag across the U.S. and has marched in parades under silver tack and side saddle up and down the West Coast. His current job is as our barn ambassador, carrying small children on their first rides. He is the epitome of everything wonderful about the American Saddlebred breed and more. Adore this horse!
HE WAS HONORED!
Nick’s owner also sent a link of photographs from a special ceremony honoring his 12 years as a flag horse for Charity Fair at Del Mar.
To view the photos of the event, click this link. The photographer was Rick Osteen. If you like these pics, you can view his site here (no affiliation). You might know Rick as he shoots many of the Morgan, Saddlebred, Fresian, Arab… shows.
I’ve pasted a few shots here…
MY FAVORITE PHOTO
There were several very beautiful shots of Nick from the contact sheet shown above.
But, my fav was this one… to me, he is showing his generous and calm personality as his is given – yet again – another wreath to wear.
I love that Nick is the only one looking at the camera. I love his tongue hanging out.
Could you imagine your horse wearing that incredibly beautiful and HEAVY saddle, plus the ribbons, plus the beaded headpiece plus the wreaths… Ha! My horses would have headed for the hills long ago!
And to think this hot and sassy Saddlebred spends his retirement time playing with his favorite little boy human.
HORSE AND MAN is a blog in growth… if you like this, please pass it around!
NEW BUCKET FUND STORY COMING ON MONDAY!!
I own a mare named “For the Love of Betsy”, sired by Talent Town, Bred by Bob Ruxer and her Mother was “The Betsy”. I was amazed to read this story of Betsy’s brother. She is 14 years old and an English Pleasure mare. He is really pretty and they look a lot alike.
Karen Ledford/Toccoa, GA
Nick was never on the road. He was rescued from slaughter at the age of 6 out in California (what, you say – slaughter is illegal in CA … LOL … they just ship them to Canada or Mexico … but wait … shipping for slaughter is illegal too in CA … LOL … do you really think the slaughter hauler is going to tell the patrolman who *might* stop him what the destination is?).
In any case, he was in a “feedlot” where they fatten the horses up before being sent to slaughter. For anyone in So. Cal., I can tell you exactly where these are located, and it tears me up to go past them – but I was able to save my “starfish” and will do so again once he is gone (hopefully, not for a very, very long time.
I was raised with back yard Saddlebreds and know how awesome a breed they are. They can be full of fire in the show ring, but in reality, they are huge sweethearts who love their humans. My mare runs her pasture fence line alongside my truck when we come up our driveway in order to greet me and then patiently waits in her stall for me to come to her. She abandons her herd to do this. But I digress. I am just happy that we were able to get Nick – he IS royally bred (his dam is a full sister to Worthy Son and a half sister to the dam of a World Grand Champion (Manilla Thrilla)). He’s a gem.
The man in your favorite shot is Nick’s breeder, Bob Ruxer. He flew out from Indiana for Nick’s last public appearance. Nick and Bob were together for Bob’s last public appearance (that’s another story I will have to send you).
As to why he ended up at auction and then in the feedlot, you’d have to ask a few folks along the way. At one point, this horse sold for 6 figures. But then, he wasn’t going to be a World Champion in one trainer’s opinion, so that trainer gave him away. In the fight for his papers, I was given lots of stories – he had EPM, he was being given away as a therapy horse, etc., but it all boiled down to one thing – someone didn’t want him, and he ended up at the auction. The kill buyer bought him, and I was fortunate that True Innocents Equine Rescue saw him and posted him on the Internet. I paid a dollar a pound for him ($600), and we nursed him back to health. Took a 6 year battle to get his papers/birth right restored to him, but we did. He is a wonderful, wonderful guy.
Unfortunately, that is the reality of horse slaughter. Proponents want you to believe American horses who are slaughtered for overseas dinner plates are old, sick, injured or somehow useless and that horse slaughter is a humane way to dispose of such horses. Well that’s just not true. The larger, better fed and healthier the horse the more desirable it is for slaughter. The lucky few are like this horse. They are saved by people like the woman who saved this horse. She saw beyond the down on its luck horse found in a kill pen.
Saddlebreds are so wonderful. I rode them as a little girl myself and riding the gentle academy horses started a lifelong love of equines and riding. I am a dressage rider now at age 24 but I still love the flash and style of saddle seat and saddlebreds as a breed. Nick is a superb example of just how versatile and gentle the breed is, and bless him from being pulled from slaughter (I assume he worked on the road for the Amish?) and flourishing in a love-filled life afterwards. I hear Talent Town was a nice stallion too, so Nick was royally bred. There are many saddlebreds that sadly end up in kill pens through no fault of their own. Thank goodness for groups like SBR in New Jersey that give saddlebreds another chance at life.
Why was Nick going to Slaughter after being such a great horse.