Senior horses remind me a lot of senior citizens; often undervalued and thought to no longer be of use because of their frail stance and slow demeanor. But the wealth of knowledge and calm confidence they exude from years of having been there and done that just leaves me in awe. The "golden oldies" as I like to call them have a very special place in my heart.
This is Susie and her owner Suzanne's story.
"It was around 2002. I originally met Susie at Palo Duro Canyon on a 3-day girls' riding trip. A friend of mine in college loaned her to me. Boy, that was a big mistake. A green broke horse and a green rider. She reared up with me several times, tried scraping me off on a tree branch overhanging the trail. She JUMPED dry creek beds. One point I came off on one of them and landed on a yucca plant. I stuck with her almost the entire three days. My friend told me to get off of her once so she could correct her, but other than that, I hung on! She was a winch, but I loved her from the first time we met. My friend decided she needed more work. I told her if she wouldn't mind, I would love taking her on to which she agreed. We learned from each other."
5-6 years into having her, she found out Susie didn't really belong to her friend, she belonged to her uncle. After he heard about what all she had done with Susie, he wanted her back for his kids. It was a HUGE battle. They finally settled on allowing her to trade Susie for a baby out of her. The only buckskin and the only filly Susie ever had was traded for her.
Suzanne was Vice President and President of the Horsemans Association for Tarleton. Because of that, she and Susie rode in many homecoming parades and the Ft Worth Stock Show parade for several years representing Tarelton."
< Ft. Worth Stock Show Parade, riding next to the palomino.
Below: Ridings backwards, in the front on the far right.
< Cooling off after an open house performance for the parents showing them what dressage, western pleasure, reining and barrel horses do. They were one of the only ones who could do all around!
After 20 years of friendship and service, her owner wanted to do something special. She contacted me and we set up a plan for a photo session.
Sonnys Little Susie, photographed below at 28 years old.
To love a horse until their golden years is the greatest gift you can give them. Document the relationship that you have built with a custom portrait session.
I've said it a thousand times and I'll say it again... people don't realize how important pictures are until that's all you have left. Now, go out and hug your horse.