Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Babe… Our First Family Equine

Time for another "Tuesdays' Show & Tail" hosted by Angela over at West Virginia Treasures! It is a meme to share about past or present pets or furry friends we’ve known. If you’d like to join, here is the link to the Guidelines. Angela, we appreciate the opportunity to share some of our treasured friends or other interesting animals we’ve seen!

Today, I want to share a bit about our first family equine, a little black Shetland, named Babe. I’d had a horse when I was young that my dad had gotten me, and I’d loved them totally since I was very little, so when we got to the point when we could afford one, we started praying. We put our names on the list for a corral at the local Horseman’s Association, and after a few months we got one. (This picture was taken about 1988, after we’d gotten several horses. L – R = Tai Pan, Peppy, Cory, Babe)

A week or so later, my prayers were answered, when one of my best friends called me. She worked at the local vet’s office and they had been called in by the Humane Society to put down a little starved Shetland pony, named Babe. When she and one of her friends saw the little guy, who had been kept in a back bedroom and only taken out at night for a few minutes to the park to graze, he was to weak to stand. She talked it over with her friend, and they asked the vet to give them a chance to save the little pitch black gelding.

He was so weak and little, that they could hold him up for several minutes at a time… and they did for four days, feeding him and paying for him to get shots and food IV’s and hand feeding him. Finally, he was able to get up and stand on his own, and they continued to feed him and care for him, but she really didn’t want another horse or pony, so a couple of weeks later, when she found out I’d gotten a corral, she offered to sell him to us for $50 (enough to cover some of the vet bills she’d paid) and we were able to get him for our kids.

My oldest son was 5 (the same age as Babe) and my daughter was 4. I was pregnant with my next son. We had Babe for 20 years, and he taught all of my kids how to ride. He was an ornery little thing, like most Shetlands, but a bit worse because he was “Proud cut.” His “gelding” wasn’t done properly and he thought he was a stud. By the time each of our kids were able to ride him, they could ride ANYTHING!!! They won many Gymkhana, Horse Show, and Parade ribbons on him.

Babe was a beautiful little thing when he was shed out in the summer, and looked like “Little Black” in the children’s books by Walter Farley, the author of the Black Stallion series. During the winter, he looked like a black furry bear. He was also VERY smart and learned many tricks. He could shake his head “no,” or “yes,” and “count.” He could shake hands and bow, and he could carry a buggy whip in his mouth and switch it up and down to “chase” you with it. He could also open gates…

He was 25 years old when he got cancer that went into his brain and one day, he started having seizures, so we had to send him over the Rainbow Bridge. He was a very special part of our lives for so many years, and brought a lot of joy, and fun into all of our lives. I wish I had more pictures of him…


Angela said...

Now that's a story! Who would have thought someone would have kept a pony in a bedroom and not take him out. Poor Babe! I'm so glad that you found him! I'm sure that your boys have great memories of riding Babe. Babe looks beautiful and well cared for and loved in the pictures that you do have of him!

My dad brought home a pony when I was a teenager. It was so mean that we didn't want anywhere near it. We didn't keep it long before he found someone else to take it. We were just too afraid of it.

Thanks for sharing another great pet story this week!

Tuesdays' Show & Tail!

ClassyChassy said...

What a neat story - Babe sure had a wonderful life with you - and teaching those kids to ride ---I do believe that they could ride anything after learning on an ornery shetland pony!!! How funny! Horses make good pals for kids - keeps em out of trouble! Thanks for sharing the photos and Babe's story.

Chatty Crone said...

What a lovely story. You loved Babe and Babe loved you back for 25 years. :)

Love the song that is playing.

Merry Christmas,

ocmist said...

We were lucky... Babe was never mean... he just didn't want to be ridden unless HE was in the mood, and he DIDN'T like to be kicked!

That corgi :) said...

interesting Babe could do all those tricks! I never really thought of horses or ponies being smart enough to learn to do things like this, but apparently I need to re-think what I thought before :)

glad he got to enjoy many a happy year with you after his rough start


Barbara Jean said...

too sick this morning to read all your post, but wanted to thank you for coming by and leaving and encouraging note.

blessings to you all this Holy season, and peace and hope throughout the year.

barbara jean