I’m a 26 year-old, registered Quarter horse. I live with four other horses, Cherokee, Trinity, Platinum Decision and Beau Geste, who are like brothers to me. I guess you could call us step-brothers. Each week, one of us will teach you something about horses.
What’s a Quarter horse? Horses, like dogs, come in many breeds. Collies, German Shepherds and Dachshunds are three dog breeds. Quarter horses, thoroughbreds and Arabians are only a few of the many breeds of horses. I am a “registered” Quarter horse because all of my ancestors were also Quarter horses.
We are the most popular American breed. When the colonists came to this country and settled in Virginia, they brought thoroughbred horses with them. Virginia was inhabited by Chickasaw Indians who had tough little ponies. When the thoroughbreds had babies with these Indian ponies, a new kind of horse was created – us! Although the thoroughbreds were very fast, they discovered that this new breed was even faster in a short race.
Do you know how long these races were? One quarter of a mile – and that’s how we got our name. Although a thoroughbred will probably beat us in a longer race, we can instantly burst into full speed and beat him in the first quarter mile. A Quarter horse holds the record for a short sprint; 55 miles an hour – the speed limit on many of our highways.
We’re not only fast; we can stop, spin and change direction easily, which is why we’re the cowboy’s favorite breed of horse. My thoroughbred brothers may be faster, but they would not be as good as me at ranch work.
I am covered with shiny, copper-colored hair and have a white stripe down my face and white on the lower part of all four legs. A little bit of white hair near our hooves is called a “sock”. If the white hair goes all the way up to our knee, it is called a “stocking”. Our hair might look like fur, but it is called a “coat”. Our hair gets longer and thicker in the winter and shorter and lighter in the summer, which is a good thing, since our coats don’t come off.
I See Monsters!
I like people and people like me; I am sweet, kind and I like to follow the rules. My brother, Trinity, is friendly too, but he’s mischievous. I’m not; I never want to anger or disappoint my mom. Even though I try to be a good horse, I’m not perfect. Truthfully, I’m a chicken – not the kind with feathers – the kind that’s scared of everything. I get nervous when I hear strange sounds or smell something bad – like the scent of a coyote prowling around our barn. I’m also petrified of things I can’t identify.
Even though I’m pretty sure there aren’t any horse-eating monsters in Connecticut, I’m always on the lookout. You know what they say, “Better to be safe, than sorry.”
One cold, snowy day, Mom was leading me out to my paddock. I didn’t hear or smell anything bad, but all of a sudden, I spotted two of the scariest monsters I’d ever seen standing right next to my paddock. AAAHHHH!! I spread my nostrils wide open to see if they smelled like monsters and stuck my ears up straight and tall to listen for monster sounds. Even though they didn’t have any scent and didn’t make a peep, I was sure they were ready to attack me.
I forgot all about poor, little Mom as I spun around on my handy Quarter horse legs and tried to run away. Mom was hanging onto my leadline, struggling not to slip on the ice. Finally, both of us made it safely back into my cozy barn. What a relief! Mom was not happy with me because I could have hurt her acting like such a big baby. After all, I weigh almost 1100 pounds. Thankfully, she loves me and knows I’m not brave. She said, “Silly Pooh Bear. Those are not monsters. They are Christmas decorations. Wicker deer covered with tiny lights don’t eat horses; they aren’t even alive.”
I felt silly and put my nose against her cheek to let her know that I was sorry I hadn’t trusted her to keep me safe.
I bet my mom is just like your parents. You can always rely on them to take care of you. Tell them about the things that scare you – even if you do feel silly. Trust me, it helps.
The charming cartoon of Sonny is drawn by the author’s brother, Fred Kunze. contact info: firstname.lastname@example.org