Sunday, June 19, 2011


Four of our six grandkids lined up next to the fence. Bailey was saddled and ready to go, especially since each of the kids had a treat extended to him on small hands flattened so he could slurp the treats into his mouth. Avery was first, the 5 yr old girl twin is the most interested in horses, and animals of all sorts. Her feet actually extended to the stirrups of the small children’s western saddle cinched around the old white horse’s belly. The last time she rode the horse had been a while ago and she had not quite reached the stirrups. She held on to the halter rope that was tied onto the halter like reins and off she went, being led by my daughter, Jennifer. Once around the huge arena, then it was Ambers turn.

Amber was the youngest at weeks before her fourth birthday and the one who had to tangle with two, 5 yr old twin brothers. Since Jennifer was her mom and she had access to Bailey and had been on him a little more, she was more comfortable and able to turn and stop him by herself. Tyler, Jennifer’s boy twin was next and then came Kyran, the oldest of my son’s 3. They both took a turn turning and stopping Bailey too. By the time the horse finished with giving them all rides he was limping on his arthritic front legs. He was in pain even with the ‘bute’ (like aspirin) he had been given and the featherweight riders. But he was willing and seemed to enjoy the attention and the treats.

Bailey was a gift. But then all horses are gifts. Even the ones you want to tear your hair out about, like Sassy, the Arabian mare I adopted from the Colorado Horse Rescue a few years ago. But that is another story. When he first arrived at Fossil Ridge Farm it was confusing for a while because we had another Bailey. The other Bailey was a dog. So we referred to him as Bailey the Horse which sounded kind of like a football player.

In his prime Bailey was not a football player, but he was an athlete. He is an AQHA registered Quarter Horse and a big gangly guy. He performed rodeo duties for ten years in team roping competition. But he is retired now, doesn’t do that anymore. He is occasionally a pleasure riding horse (when he feels like it) and what is called ‘bombproof,’ a horse for the kids. He is steady and slow and doesn’t go any faster than he has to. He is perfect for my grandkids which consist of: two sets of twins, all 5 years old, a 3 yr old and a 7 year old.

Bailey showed up in 2009 and now he is 21 years old. He was born in Iowa and his birth name is Sonoitabee, which sounds like a native American name. He is still a ladies man and when there are mares around he won’t stop flirting with them. But, Oh well. It keeps him young. He has it good around here.

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