Monday, July 21, 2008

The Cowboy Question

My sister, Jill, is still recuperating from her knee replacement surgery, so a couple of times a week I am shuttling over to El Ranchito. That's the pet name we gave to our parents' little spread on the other side of town. My temporary assignments are to exercise Jill's horse, Topper, and turn out my mom's warmblood mare, April, and her palomino colt, Cowboy. As you probably recall, Cowboy was a bit of an experiment. We bred April-- a big, fancy Oldenburg/Trakehner mare-- to a much smaller cremello AQHA stallion in hopes of getting a sweet, useful, all-purpose riding horse. You know, a nice "family" horse. At least that was the plan.
Young Cowboy is maturing so quickly that he seems to change every time I see him. He's no longer a yellow fuzz ball. He's become quite elegant and leggy. Plus, he moves with a great deal of suspension, much like his (mostly) Trakehner mom. Genetically there's a 15.1-hand Quarter horse in there... someplace. I just can't quite see it. This makes me wonder if Cowboy himself is a little conflicted. Does he emulate his sire, the all-around working Quarter horse? Or does he envision himself following in the hoofprints of his mother's side of the family, which boasts a long heritage of champion hunters and jumpers? Who knows. Perhaps the young palomino may suffer from some sort of equine schizophrenic angst! With that bizarro concept in mind, here are a couple of Cowboy pics I snapped today:

Here Cowboy is momentarily pausing in the shade of the mulberry tree. I can't decide if he's studying an imaginary jumping course or figuring out which mythical steer to cut from a herd. I guess that's what happens when you're 1/2 warmblood and 1/2 Quarter horse.
(*Note my parents' curious Labradoodle lurking in the background, just outside the arena. Since he's the same color as Cowboy, he doesn't think I can see him. But I can).

Now Cowboy decides to demonstrate his best impression of a young jumper galloping down to the final fence in a timed jump-off. Or maybe he's chasing a steer. It's hard to tell. But notice how his mother seems to be thinking, "Sheesh. I wish this kid of mine would slow down. I mean, I have an awesome extended trot, but this is getting ridiculous. Can we just WALK for cryin' out loud?"

In time, we'll be able to tell whether Cowboy will be a "cowboy" or a hunter/jumper performance horse. Or, I should say, Cowboy will let us know what he wants to be.


As always, I welcome your comments and emails. You can click on "comments" below or email me at:


Anonymous said...

very lovely!

Mandy K said...

He is such a cool color. Does he have any facial markings?

Anonymous said...

Wow what a gorgeous boy he is! He's growing up so fast!

Anonymous said...

Finally some news on the beutiful cowboy! Such a pretty boy, haha your parents labradooodle blends in "they dont see me" I bet cowboy willbe great at wahteever he does, maybe he can do a little english and a little western! who knows, Hope your having fun watching your sis and your moms horses! and WAlly, so did you gt him a waterslide yet? lol!

Anonymous said...

What a gorgeous baby!! I am SOOO jealous! He is beautiful!!! My born-palomino-turned gray colt is going through a lanky, "dorky" stage! I love babies! We have raised 4/5 of our horses from babies. They are now 1, almost 3, 10, 12 and 13 years old.


Anonymous said...

he is a cutie!His mom is probably tired after running with him all day! My mare is pregnant and I can't wait until she has her baby next spring!

Anonymous said...

well whatever he decides he wants to be, Cowboy sure is adorable!

Anonymous said...

HE IS SOOOOOOO CUTE, i have a sotty palomino mare but she is darker than him. Palominos Rule!!!

Cindy Hale said...

Thanks for all of your comments and emails. There's something about colts and fillies that excites horse lovers. Maybe it's sort of like "other women" who are fascinated by human babies they see out in public. I mean, you can be in a grocery store and someone pushes a baby in a cart and many women will just gush, "Ooh! Look at the baby!" But with horsewomen, we're more likely to become entranced by a baby HORSE!

Oh. And I also love palominos in all their various colors: creamy ones the color of pina coladas, metallic golden ones like new coins, and sooty ones with silvery manes and grey smudges on their bodies.

Mandy K asked about Cowboy's facial markings. I remember that he had a little star and narrow blaze when he was born, but honestly I cannot see it now. Who knows? It may reappear next spring when he sheds out and gets his first "real" coat of hair.