Been a few dark days with death and loss so what better to bring back the right tone then a story. Today’s story is the story of Snowney the White Pony, AKA Snowbaby Go, AKA Snowboy. Some of you out there know that there was a time when he was called Oreo-Double Stuff in his youth for reasons obvious above. He was the pony of a girl at Sienna Stables. My father, quite a horseman in his own right, would never have bought a pony for my sister and I. Too mean, he’d had said. And Snow (Oreo) was no different. In his early days he went out of his way to dump, stop, buck or just lie down in an effort to dislodge his rider and quit working.
His first young rider loved him but her mother was wise enough to know that there were better horses for her daughter to ride. Ones that would not be so determined to send her daughter to the ground. And so this adorable white pony went to the horse rescue. I got a call about him and knew he would work somewhere, for someone in the Whipple Tree Farm stable. I remember Dianne telling Snowboy that first night that life was going to be a little less fun and not as glamorous at this new barn. He was going to be expected to work for a living. And his shenanigans would have to stop.
First, why Snowboy as a name? As a child, my father made sure I learned about great horses and great horseman. I loved the book-Snowman-the Cinderella Horse. He was a rescued plow horse that took on the biggest jumping shows in the world and won. He was owned by Harry DeLeyer(yes, the same DeLeyer family from here in Houston) and was further immortalized in a recent book called “The Eighty Dollar Champion”. http://www.amazon.com/The-Eighty-Dollar-Champion-Inspired-ebook/dp/B004J4WKY2
So, I had loved Snowman but this was a white PONY-so obviously, this pony had to be Snowboy, not Snowman. Made perfect sense to me. Later we came up with the name “Snowbaby Go” as a show name, one which was unique and yet classic. I don’t think we actually got to name any of the other horses we had, we just went along with whatever they were called but Snowboy got a barn name, a show name (Snowbaby Go) and later a love name from my granddaughter, Snowney the White Pony.
Snowboy was originally used as a lesson horse at Whipple Tree and in the course of a few months, most of the teenaged riders there, Caitlyn, Lauren, Rachel, Cara, Stefani and Desi (to name a few) had fallen off of him. He wasn’t necessarily mean, just crafty. If you weren’t paying attention, he would catch you unaware and off you would go. (Which, by the way, totally reinforced my dad’s original opinion.)
Not too long after we got Snow, I got a call from the rescue that a beautiful, big, bay quarter horse had come in. He was a seasoned show veteran and quite a solid hunter. I asked if I could trade Snow for the new horse Mac (I had actually paid more for Snow than they were asking for Mac-because of Mac’s older age). A deal was struck and back to the rescue Snow went. I will note that as much I as I was loved for bringing Mac to Desi (his new half owner) I was hated by the girls that had come to love Snow including my own daughter Lauren. There were a lot of tears when Snow left. I would have never done so if I would have known what would happen to Snow in his next home but then Desi, Elizabeth, Mary Lou and others would have never known the wonderful horse that Mac is either. So… you make the best decision you can.
It was not easy to place Snow the second time around. I was the big “English” client and Snow was a jumping pony. Most of the rescue’s clients were western people and this pony did not match their interest. Finally, a woman adopted Snow and he went to live with several other horses. It wasn’t Sienna Stables or Whipple Tree Farm but it should have been okay.
It was not. Sarah, our rescue friend and recent trainer of Feather, saw Snow emaciated (which was quite a change from his Oreo-Double Stuff persona) standing in a pasture of dried up weeds. There were dead horses in this pasture and obviously it had been a long time since food and water had been on the menu here. I got a call asking if I would take the pony back. I quickly agreed and Snow came back to Whipple Tree Farm. Before Snow could settle in for a good meal, get his feet fixed or be rested, the Brazoria County Sheriff called with claims that I had stolen the pony. Once he heard the story, he sided with us, but the legal owner of Snow was charging Grand Theft Pony and I had to give him back. The sheriff came to get Snow in an open top trailer. If I thought I had been hated for the first time I let Snow go- it was nothing compared to this time when he rode away in the horrible trailer to go to the ASPCA. Snow would stay at the humane society until the court case was decided. I got a call a few weeks later that his previous owner had been convicted of multiple counts of animal cruelty for allowing some of the horses to die and others (like Snow) to be starved. I was told that Snow would be up for adoption.
This time except for telling a few friends, Kathy, Dianne and Rebecca, no one knew Snow might be coming home, not even Lauren. Rebecca agreed to go pick up Snow in her trailer. Kathy helped with the adoption fees and off we went to get Snow. Lauren was left in the Saturday morning lesson with Dianne. As we pulled into the barn, Snow was not visible over the high sides of the trailer. Dianne asked the riders, “Oh my goodness, is that Snowboy?” Stefani, always polite and now a student at Texas A&M, replied “you better freaking not say that-you know he is gone forever!” but Dianne persisted, “Yes, I think it is Snowboy!” Stefani was jumping a course at the time and literally leaped off mid-canter to run to the trailer. Lauren and the other girls were right behind her. Rebecca and I pulled the trailer up and Snow was greeted by crying, screaming girls. I vowed that day that Snow would never go away again. No matter what, he was mine for life.
The next day, probably three hundred pounds lighter than he is today with torn up feet Snow went reserve champion for a girl in the Beginner Division. He won ribbons for Lauren that day as well.
Since then Snow has gained weight (he is the best scavenger around-no doubt due to his days of starvation), he has won year-end awards for Lauren in Pony classes, and he has turned in respectable rounds at a rated show in the pony division. He has moved with us to Wharton and he has become my first granddaughter’s first love. As Jordyn was able to get down to ride less and less he went to Freeman Ranch and has guided many over their first fences. Right now, he and his current rider, Isabel are sitting at the top of their division in the Greater Houston Hunter Jumper Association.
It works out nicely because Isabel brings Snow to the horse shows and my Jordyn gets to ride him in the Leadline classes. It seems that for now, Snow is safe, well fed and happy. One day soon, Isabel will be ready to move up to bigger horses and Jordyn will be ready to show her pony all by herself.
But one thing is certain, Snow will always have a place to call home and never be hungry again.