Jeph, affectionately called Jephy. When in trouble he’s Jephery James. He’s my 1992 model SaddlebredxQH gelding. I’ve had him since 2005 and he was kick to go, pull to stop broke. He was the first horse my dad and I went to see and as soon as I sat on his back I knew he was coming home. He wasn’t the 15.2 QH gelding with barrel experience I sought, but that didn’t matter. I was head over boots in love.
Since coming to the farm he’s become a whole different horse. He’s learned he can bend his neck while turning instead of stiffly moving in the direction he’s pulled. I installed brakes and since then he’s never ignored the word ‘whoa’. We’ve done barrels, we’ve jumped, we hauled in for lessons, we got caught in the rain, we’ve explored the farm, we’ve gone for moonlit bareback rides. It hasn’t always been easy but it’s been worth every minute. He’s my big, goofy gelding.
Though he’s now 24, he doesn’t act a day over 5. At times it’s maddening. He’s energetic, loves his afternoon naps in the sun and hollers to remind us chore time is close and he would like his grain. Jeph is semi-retired now, we keep it to some gentle lunging and walk-trot bareback rides. He’s my patient, clumsy, blind in one eye Jephy.
Horse is my 2002 model sooty palomino miniature horse. As a kid I was, and still am, in love with palominos. So, naturally, when my parents took me to the farm of a lady who bred miniature horses I picked out the palomino one. The wild, unhandled, unbroke six month old palomino. Typical.
She rode home in the back of the pick-up truck in a pen my dad had made from a cattle panel. It took some time but eventually she settled down and came around to liking people. I led her all over and taught her to jump in-hand. A few Decembers back my dad found a lady selling a miniature horse cart and harness. He surprised me with both on Christmas morning. So Horse learned to drive. Just as with jumping, she took to it instantly. She’s quite the show-off. A couple years after receiving the harness, my dad had another surprise for me: a hay rack. He’d made a miniature horse sized hay rack on a running gear for my birthday. Can you say adorable? Yes, it’s okay, you can.
Meet Aspen, my 2011 model bay paint mare. Formerly Emme (sorry big brother, I had to keep with the geographical theme of naming my critters) she was born on my brother’s ranch in Texas. She lived there with her mom and sister and was handled but was unworked. She’s friendly and social and has taken to my dad and I very quickly. She’s in the pasture with my gelding now but loves to follow her people around.
She’s a nosy little mare who thinks getting hosed down is the bees knees and the light misting of the fly spray bottle is reason enough to throw a fit. The things that I think should bother her, don’t, and things that shouldn’t, do. She keeps me on my toes and makes me appreciate my other two horses who don’t bat an eye at the things I ask them to do. The first month or so we just let her get settled in and comfortable. Now the work begins and I couldn’t be more excited.