Wednesday, February 7, 2018

A Trail Of Painted Ponies: Winston

I knew the next Painted Pony would be tough, but I thought it was because it would be Barry. Instead it is hard because it is Winston. Nearly a year now after we lost him and I am still missing him. Every show I go to, I wish I was taking him. This was the year he would join the show string. Over ten years we owned him, he had come so far and overcome so much. Even before we had him he had his challenges. Winston went through at least 4 owners before us, one a dealer, one a dead beginner. He dealt with a horrible barn owner and people who did not understand him.

Trainer, he loved the jingly double bridle

9yr old Winston

When we saw him the first time it was crazy windy and dark, but this horse did everything we asked of him in hand. So we bought him for a whopping $450. He was suppose to be a resale project, but that went out the window after he dropped me 3x by taking off. Plus the first time we trotted him under saddle he looked like a German Shepherd. Winston scared me with his runaway tendency. We began 2 years of ground work, long lining and side reins. He loved to work, but something was not right. A vet though he had kissing spine, then after seeing him move said he was like a 3yr old in a 9yr old body.
So I did something I had never done before, advertised for a trainer. Most people would not even answer my emails since we did not have a fenced arena. Then I found a lady willing to try him out. She pushed him until he took off, but she could handle it since she expected it. Over three months with her riding 2x a week, he began to turn into a riding horse.

That allowed Mom to ride him more and more. And I even got on him too, though I still shook with nerves. Winston loved to work and learned to relax. Little did we know that his chill attitude, combined with a nimble mouth would lead to a painful experience. Even wearing a muzzle, Winston developed Laminitis. He dealt with ice boots, pain and feeding restrictions all in stride. Fortunately, we saw a trial for a new drug called Laminil and the company added Winston to their trial. He came through the procedure and was nearly sound days after. He still had a long road to go and a ton of weight to lose. Through it all he was still happy. He began to learn Spanish walk too.
Gradually he came back to work and continued to improve. He and I actually began to have fun together. That only increased when we made the move to Peggy's. There he could go out with the herd consistently without worrying about the grass.

He did develop Uvitis which made him go on Previcox and wear a mask forever. But that was better than dealing with puffy eyes. He also dealt with carcinomas that seemed to appear seasonally. They did not interfere too much and we had some cancer ointment to use.
The horse we bought one windy day withstood so many storms in his life. Though it took time, once he gave his trust, it was complete. He was always so happy. That was why I made his show name "Omnis Cor" (all heart).

Sadly last year he faced a storm that would not pass. We knew when we looked at him that his heart was gone and so was his joy. We let him go and now he rests in the field were his buddies play in the shade of the trees where he once snoozed.

With our aging herd, Peggy and I have looked at Painted Ponies. Though I was not looking for him, Peggy found a pony. Once I looked, I knew that was the one for Winston.

Storm Rider Lightning illuminates this strong-bodied pony as it braces for the storm ahead. 

The steel gray who glitters with his head up in the face of a storm was Winston to a "T." He touched so many people and taught me more than I could have ever thought. I like to think he is running pain free and eating a bunch of grass in heavenly fields. Thank you everyone for letting me share him with all of you. He truly was a special horse!