If You’ve Ever Owned An Ugly Horse
The following is a true story and a tribute to an animals
undieing devotion.It is long and you may prefer to print it out and then
read it. I believe it is worth your time and if in some small way
I have given recognition to the spirit and heart of our beloved friends
and you remember R/C as a great and beautiful horse I will be forever greatfull.
How can I begin to tell you of this big dumb, ugly horse?
How can you see and feel the heart of this remarkable fellow? This
story is for all of you who have thought ”Gee that’s an ugly horse, and
for those of us lucky enough to have had them. Another’s Ebony Sun
was born Memorial Day weekend 1989, and when we saw him we wanted to hold
a memorial !
This was the ugliest foal ever born.You know the statement
all babies are beautiful, well not in this case. His head was huge,
more mule than horse. He was hide stretched across bone.
I hoped when he filled out things would improve. Nope, he got worse.
He was unproportioned, rafter hipped and still that head !
I didn’t think it possible for him to even walk without falling over that
head. We began calling him
Rochester, I don’t know why it just seemed to fit.
My husband commented constantly, "That’s got to be the ugliest horse I've
ever seen" . I, as any protective mother tried to resist but I knew
he was right.
Here is Al showing the beautiful Stoney, Halter Champion
of Michigan, and then there’s me. Here I come with what surely
could have been a great before and after commercial, it was embarrassing!
People approaching us would go directly to Al commenting on how pretty
Stoney was, then the uneasy moment as they felt compelled to say something
to me. Desperately trying to think of something, "He’s a big
one, was all the best of them could come up with. Most of the
time they’d just walk away in an uneasy silence. Embarrassed,
I’d threaten my ugly horse with, "You’d better behave or it's Alpo
City for you. No one else would have you your so darn ugly."
At the age of 2 I rode him not because I wanted to but
because it needed doing. How I longed for a pretty horse, one
I could be proud of. I'd think although he’s ugly he’ll mature
into such a good ride - NOP! He paced, because he was so long strided
his stepping pace was not bad but the minute you speeded him up he beat
you to death. I thought temperament - NOPE! At
2 he would spook at a leaf and jump side ways leaving you in the dirt if
you weren’t on guard all the time. Would I ever be rid of this pacey,
spooky, ugly horse? I contemplated the rest of my life on him because
heaven knows I didn’t know of anyone else who found these qualities worth
while. He did have one saving grace he liked people.
He’d lie down and put his head in your lap, the kids loved to climb all
over him - so I guess I was stuck with this big ugly dog.
The following year was better - OK he was still ugly
but at least he wasn’t spooking and he did love people. I think
he knew in the wild he’d have been abandoned at birth! Even
the other horse’s seemed to know, they just didn’t want to be around him
and treated him horribly.
Rochester’s first claim to fame came at the age of 4
during the Michigan shore to shore ride, 276 miles across the state.
Camping and ridding for 2 weeks. Although still the ugliest
horse in camp, people started to be drawn to him and he started picking
up nick names like R/C, Rollo, Mickey, Chester and others.
The kids in camp brought him a pillow and banky . Everyone thought it amassing
he would let you put his head on the pillow and stay down for you to sit
or lie on him.
On the trail he now went where ever you pointed him, he
might shake all over but he went with no added means of encouragement other
than a cluck. We found he really loved sticking his head completely
under water and blowing bubbles. I thought at first it was
a way to finally hide that head , but he seemed to truly enjoy the bubbles.
At 4 he was 16.1H big, black, and unfortunately still ugly. People
would say how
nice he was if only he weren’t soo- ugly.
Rochester’s fourth year we covered over 800 trail miles. His
flat walk covered so much ground he could out do most. It was during
this fourth year I began learning what beauty was.
R/C was now the horse to borrow for children needing
a reliable mount or adults wanting to enjoy the trail. He lead without
tack and you could ride him with nothing but halter and rope.
R/C needed neither bridle or saddle to carry what he considered precious
cargo. Because our 2 year old grand daughter was to small to actually
ride or physically control a 16H horse we taught her verbal commands and
she rode R/C in pee-wee “walk /trot” by simply saying ,”Chester walk” and
“Chester whoa”. By 5 Rochester was becoming a legend, yes ugly and
all. I can’t begin to tell you all the stories. I was free, free to go
any where and do anything for R/C always took care of me.
July 94” we spent 3 weeks in the Smokie Mts..
We traveled 20 some miles a day from altitudes of 2-6000ft. Although terrified
of heights I was free on my horse to see things I’d never dreamed possible.
Most people bring pack horse’s when going back country but our horse’s
were young and strong enough to handle the terrain, gear, feed and rider.
Beauty is when you hear your rider crying because she is
frightened you stop and wait for her to say OK to continue.
Although still embarrassed by R/C’s looks he was the
best trail horse and I rode him every where. I kept up with
the best of the “Cowboys” and went places allot of women I know wouldn’t
go. Always R/C was there making me look as if I could ride.
At base camp there arouse an uproar. A group of people
were talking about the biggest ugliest horse they’d ever seen. I knew right
away who it was, R/C ! I suppose all the years of being abused by
other horse’s had taken it’s toll. Now R/C was big enough and strong enough
he wouldn’t tolerate strange horse’s being picketed with him. I sat and
listened how my horse was not only ugly but the most ill creature they’d
ever seen. They asked my opinion and I said, “People with horse’s
like that should leave them home”. I was so embarrassed.
We spent the rest of our time back country and when the
tail end of the hurricane hit we were 6,000ft up the mountain in a very
remote area. R/C’s trail buddy and stable mate fell over 350ft straight
down the mountain as the trail simply washed out beneath him. I hung on
to R/C’s tail and Al looped his arm through the stirrup and R/C started
taking us both home.
I swear he knew, every step he tried and at any questionable
spot he would stop. Al and I would climb with our fingerholds
and then call for R/C to come.
He brought us over the miles and treacherous terrain
threw the blinding rain and collapsing trail. He was never given
instruction he just some how knew. Periodically he would stop
and call to Stoney then continue on. The barriers, the obstacles would
take more paper than could be read, some I spokeof in the rescue story.
Ugly Rochester has taught both children and adults to
ride. He has carried them safely through hurricanes , floods,
swamps and mountains. He has saved at least 2 lives after knowing him I
have learned what beauty is-
Beauty is knowing your rider will come off if you lounge
when sunk in a swamp so you power drive 1 leg at a time until out.
Beauty is knowing your rider is terrified of heights
and falling so you carry her down steep grades ever so slowly on your own
while she keeps her eyes shut.
Beauty is as the rock and soil fall away from beneath
your feet you hear your rider calling and you respond.
Beauty, why Beauty is a horse named Rochester!
alias R/C,Mickey,Rollo ect.
Update To “If You’ve Ever Owned An Ugly Horse’
Another's Ebony Sun alias R/C is now living on a 200 acre
farm with two lakes and nothing but sand trails. He went there with his
buddy Stoney. At almost 10 years old he is teaching a brand
new family the precious gift of love and the true meaning of beauty.
R/C’s new family has 5 children and he is in his glory
with all that attention. Mom told me everyone slept in the
barn the first night. The next day all the kids were hurrying
around fetching this and that for the horse’s when the smallest child could
not be found. The mother now terrified soon spotted the 5 year old.
Big ole R/C had his head between his front legs watching this little tike
as she ever so calmly stood under him reaching up brushing his belly!
I feel as one does with a child who has grown admirably
into adulthood. I miss him yet he has far more than I could ever
give him and I am proud of him. The lessens all of the children will
learn will be taught safely by the most beautiful horse I have ever known.