Old Horses, New Friends: Part 3 of 4

By Della St Louis

Lady has a tremendous admiration for Barbara, and allows Barbara to rub her belly. To show her appreciation, Lady stretches her head out and shakes it up and down, indicating to Barbara she hit the right spot. Not long in the tooth, but missing a few, Lady often lets her tongue hang from the location of the missing teeth. This gives Lady a somewhat humorous look that attracts the attention of many riders. More than one rider has commented to Barbara about the drunken look effect which gives Barbara something to chuckle about, and makes her day as it always gets the conversation started. If there is nothing to talk about on the ride, the hanging tongue always gets fifteen minutes of fame.

Looking back over the 20+ years the gal pals have hung together, Barbara is truly content riding this old gal. After Team Penning, Drill Teams and Rodeos, Barbara just wants to enjoy Lady, the wilderness and other riders. Whether she is riding in Arizona, or California with the Mounted Patrol, in Nevada with the Wild Horse Association or in Texas, she knows she is safe on her trusted old gal pal. Barbara joined the ACTHA in October 2010, and moved to the Lone Star State in September 2012. Barbara and her best friend Lady now travel throughout the Lone Star State enjoying ACTHA rides and wilderness trails, and meeting amazing riders whom she has something in common with, many of whom ride older horses of 20+ years of age. Although so far Barbara has not met up with anyone with a horse older then Lady, perhaps there are others. One thing is for sure; when and if Barbara and Lady meet up with them, they will have much to converse about. Some topics sure to be discussed include love your older horse for the time you have left with them, keep your older horse limbered up, exercise is a key factor to a long life, learn from them, an old horse can learn new tricks, and so can their owner.

Della St. Louis’s horse, Sidewinder Skip, aka “Bubba”, was not always a trail horse, and Della did not set out to buy a Quarter Horse. In 1993 when she returned from two tours in Germany, she chanced upon the stables at Fort Rucker, AL. She became friends with the owners of a handsome sorrel gelding named Bubba. Della ended up owning him after only a few months of negotiating a sale price.
Della and Bubba set out on a long journey of show pens and military installations from Michigan to Florida, New Mexico to Georgia, and back again. Over the twenty plus years of ownership, Della and Bubba had a successful show career despite all the military moves, deployments, climates and terrain changes. Bubba managed to fit in wherever he was stabled.

Bubba was sold in 2003. Both Della and her husband were departing to military locations that did not allow them to keep and care for their horses so both horses were sold and shipped away; Bubba to his new owner on the east coast, their other horse went west. Surprisingly only after seven months, Bubba’s current owner no longer wanted him and offered to sell him back. Arriving on the east coast farm were Bubba was stalled, Della’s husband went directly to Bubba’s stall, led by Della’s Beagles who seemed to know exactly what stall Bubba was in. Bubba was in deplorable condition. He had been kept in a very small dark wet stall with standing manure. Bubba looked as though there was no life in him left. As soon as Bubba saw the dogs and Della’s husband, Bubba immediately became full of life. Bubba almost loaded himself in the trailer. The lady was paid, and back to Texas they went.

This is Part Three of a Four Part series story. Check in next week for Part Four! We welcome all members’ stories! Everyone has a special story to share about their horses and experiences.
We would love to hear yours! Each published submission will receive a hat from TechNiche Cooling Products (while supplies last)! You can send stories to Debbie@actha.us.
Please also include a couple of good quality photos!

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