In the early spring of 1992, I had a yearling filly for sale. She was really cute, but not really what I was looking for to train. After putting an ad in the Horsemen’s News, I received a call. A young lady was looking for a project that would grow to be at least 15 hands and was very interested in the filly. Only catch was, she couldn’t have two horses. She already had a small yearling and would take $100 on trade for him. She said he was a real goof-ball but would not get super big, so since I was getting a good price for the filly, I agreed.
I arrived at the Big Boy restaurant in Oshkosh with snow flying everywhere. The scene was similar to parents switching kids for the week as we unloaded our cargo and switched locations. The little sorrel gelding she presented was indeed small, and slightly built, but he had attitude and this made me smile. They called him “Windjammer”, but I just wasn’t sure the name fit him. As soon as I brought him home and let him go flying around the pasture, I knew he would be known as Scooter forever more.
Scooter was one of those rare horses that taught me as much as I ever did him. He made it all easy. He ran his heart out each and every time we competed and never let me down. Because of his small stature, barrels would never be a prime class, but wherever quickness and agility prevailed – he always nailed it. He was most effective in Keyhole, Poles, Jumping Figure 8 and Tire Race. In keyhole, he would literally slide to a stop, spin in place and head back out in such a small area he never messed up the lines. Often times we would turn just inside the entry which was highly difficult.
Scooter was also effective in classes like ball and pail, flags and spear race were his ability to place his rider just where she needed to be created one flawless ride after another. I hardly ever missed when I rode him.
My little buddy was also good at other types of activities as well. He was so much fun in parades as he would prance and dance the entire time, he was calm and relaxing on trail rides and even won first place in a 50 mile endurance ride at Kettle Moraine. This win was partly due to his ability to go out at an extended trot for miles with ease. Even when I tipped the scale at 200 lbs for that ride, he never showed signs of noticing. He did that ride in total ride time of 4 hours and 14 minutes.
For years, Scooter and I were inseparable. He even allowed my inexperienced step-daughter to use him in some events as well – he was a real trooper.
Scooter never colic’d, well I cannot say never, because it was colic that ended his life. It is because of his toughness and great heart that we probably did not even notice he was having problems until it was too late. What seemed a slight belly-ache was actually the beginning of the end. We took him in to the vet hospital and after a full evaluation they said he was prolapsed and he had turned a corner. They could not figure out how he could still be standing, but he was. We lost him that day.
Because we had so many great adventures together, I am sure I will write about him again down the line, but for now all I can say is that I miss him.