This information is offered as thanks for the many caring expressions of sympathy received after Chief (Pretty Boy) was lost in a fire in September.
Many could not understand the relationship we shared. Yes, he was my endurance partner; every distance rider should share a special bond . But he went beyond that. Being a stud he pastured near the house; when I went out and called ˜Pretteee---", he'd first flick a sparkling eye in my direction, then up would come his head and he would either run or fast trot to me usually accompanied by one of his enthusiastic yells. It could be for movement to another lot, to be fed or ride, but he always had that happy attitude. For feeding I would hold the bucket quietly asking him to back; in his bold manner he would advance backward 5 ft or more waiting until I delivered the feed. In the winter this meant moving back then waiting for me to enter his shed and deliver the feed allowing me to maneuver thru the mud etc. Even after already started eating I could pull him off of his energetic meal consumption requiring that he stand a few feet back until I had fixed a problem and gave permission to resume eating.
On the competition trail he was a perfect gentleman, even garnering veterinary compliments on a stallion behaving at check points. We were in the process of building those long slow distance miles, up to 460 for this year after his first year being 400. My goal was to make his 1000 this year with 3 more rides scheduled; his goal was simply to PLEASE me. His entire 860 endurance miles were accomplished barefoot in back but after local farrier problems last year, easy boots or barefoot on front. Even tho we were bogged down a bit this year learning to properly use easy boots on the front feet mostly because of some rocky rides, we were adapting and hooves were showing little signs of wear retaining their natural angle. He was always worked, ridden and competed with the PNH rope hackamore using the long line at check points.
Campaigning I was concerned about camping responsibilities with a stallion (see Chief's First Ride) but he adapted to the picket line for home completely. He and I both preferred the line connected near the truck door where I slept. When the door or window was open, his head was there for some attention. At his last two rides we were camped next to a group of 4 horses who escaped in the middle of the night. His response was to simply stand watching in bewilderment about their wild reactions.
Stallions in particular take special care and attention with great responsibility that most do not want or need. But with the special relationship that Pretty Boy and I shared, it becomes more complete because of the concentrated partnership connection.
For all the agonies of trying to live again with 12 appaloosas, and a burned barn with all it contained, I would go thru it ten times over for just a chance to have him grazing around the house at night, hear his loud enthusiastic yells, feel his reaction to his beloved shoulder rubs, or see his sparkling eyes again.
Carol Ann Beckner
September 20th all was lost! I received 2nd degree burns on face & neck trying to reach him. Realistically it was already too late as the barn was engulfed in smoke, but all I could think was "he's in there." I never knew when the fire jumped out at me.