My husband Tom and I have always loved animals. I never had a dog of my own until we were married, but I had a horse from age eleven until I was nineteen and he was sold. I lost a lot that same year, my grandmother died and I still dream about her…..other losses too, but that’s another story. It’s hard to believe that my first dog was Omar, a Shetland Sheepdog. He was my Christmas present the first year we were married. He was the smartest, most loving little guy and beautiful, too. We went back to the breeder and got his brother, Tripod who was huge. He was not as smart as Omar, but very sweet.
So fast forward…..losing Omar when he was only nine years old was really hard. Our son Christopher was six years old and he still remembers losing his first dog. Tripod went to live with my Mom when he was two because the two Shelties did not get along. She took great care of him and he had many supervised visits with Omar and I saw him almost every day. He died when he was twelve. We tried to replace them with identical male Shelties and luckily found an adorable tiny little sable and white male that we named after Kodak T-Max film. T-Max was a great running buddy and he would go to work with me at Alamo Photo Labs. At home he would play goalie with Christopher when he played soccer and you could not get the ball past him. We found another male Sheltie in Austin named Rocky and a female we named Tiffen. Westin, another collie sized psycho, came from a breeder in Shertz. He was T-Max’s full brother, but he would attack every one who walked past our yard and once he bit a friend of Christopher’s so we had to give him to the neighborhood yardman. We heard later that he had mated with a Pekingese.
When our son, Peyton was born in 1992, Tiffen would leap up onto our bed and we were worried about her hurting him, so we gave her to Gloria our maid. Last we heard was “Ella quiere muchas tortillas, y por eso esta muy gorda!!!!!
In 1996 Christopher was starting high school and Peyton, pre K. Tom and I were having the same dream….to raise them in the country, in a small town without so much peer pressure, but lots of fresh air and open spaces. We looked in the hill country where land prices were astronomical and were fortunate to find our property 35 miles south of San Antonio in Wilson County . The land was owned by Tom’s childhood friends, the Kuper family of realtors. It was love at first site when we saw the lush green pastures, so we sold our house at 346 Bluebonnet and said good bye to our favorite neighbors, packed up with the help of Roy Graham, Cindy and Wilson. T-Max and Rocky made the move with us and we soon added a tiny little Pomeranian, Muffy to the family. We lost old snaggletooth Rocky shortly after the move, but a beautiful female Golden Retriever, Sonny became Christopher’s new pet and DIOGE a female Sheltie from Del Rio, stole Peyton’s heart.
Mohawk was our first horse that we found in 1996. I had looked at several ponies and we went through a few wild ones (Willow and Avery) before we were able to relax and enjoy the experience of owning a horse. He was boarded at various barns around town. it gave me a real sense of what my poor Mom had to put up with, trying to find a decent place with responsible care. We could not wait to get him to our own ranch. We had no fencing, well for water or electricity initially, but our neighbor Linda Perez was able to keep him for us. While our house was being built, we rented a wonderful house in Floresville on 1st street. We lived there for one year and were busy with high school basketball practice and games, cheering for Floresville’s star player, #40. RCP drove the cheerleaders wild and broke several hearts.
We had great times during our first year with a track behind the house in Floresville for the boys to ride their go cart. We would spend evenings and week-ends out in Fairview, while the Rockin’ P was under construction, having friends and family over cooking outside in the yard where our house would soon be. We would ride Mohawk, he was a beautiful bay & white paint, who reminded me of a horse that I competed in open jumping when I was in high school, who was amazing. Mo lacked any athletic ability what so ever, though, and we later went horse hunting to find a better mount.
I still had to have a pony, though. It goes back to my early childhood when I would visit a crotchety relative con sangre pesada in Hill Country Village on Christmas night and spend hours petting their pony over the fence shivering in the cold. Never once would the heartless soul think about letting me ride or even be on the same side of the fence with him. Boo Hoo, I’m over it….
We found a little bay Shetland that we named August after a famous surfer, and a few other ornery little scoundrels that are long gone and hardly remembered, but one fateful day, while trailriding at Pam Dorman’s ranch off 1604, I spotted a grayish brown pony with a flowing flaxen mane and tail. He had a devilish twinkle in his large brown eyes, and I wanted that little fireball from that minute on. “Oh, he’s not for sale and never will be” claimed Leslie a woman who was training Pam’s horses before we all realized her questionable ethics. His owner had found him at a Welsh pony farm and when I first saw him he was four years old. I was riding Avery that day, who was pretty, but did not have the heart that I longed to find someday. I wondered if there was a pony or horse that would be safe, trustworthy and would love me back. I put Avery and Willow up for sale and agonized over it, praying that they would not be mistreated, but knowing that I needed to find them homes where they would be appreciated. As fate would have it, a lovely little lady called when she saw my ad and by a stroke of luck, she turned out to be the owner of the little pony that I had seen at Pam’s! She claimed to be a novice rider, but she had lots of natural balance and guts to boot. She told me about jumping on him bareback without even a halter and steering him with just a grasp of his mane. She took Avery and Willow out to Blanco to join her other minis and horses, but soon decided that she wanted the smoother ride of a gaited horse like a Tennessee Walker or a Missouri Fox Trotter. We became great friends and went together in search of a gentle, smooth mount for her and when we finally found one, she lovingly decided that Pony Boy should spend “Summer camp” at the Rockin’ P Ranch!!!!! You know how sometimes when your hopes are so high, you tend to be open to disappointments? Well that summer fling was around the year 1997 and not a day has gone by that Pony Boy has not exceeded all my greatest expectations!!!!