This is my daughter Sarah, riding her first barrel horse, Dixie. Dixie was 27 years old when we got her, but she was very well trained in running barrels and taught Sarah. Dixie was a spotted Saddlebred.
Once Sarah and Dixie got to know each other, they were a team and did very well together. Sarah could go out to the field with a halter and lead rope and jump on Dixie and go for a ride anywhere.
One of the things I didn’t know until years later was when Sarah was grounded from her truck, she would get Dixie with a halter and lead rope and ride her across town (a tiny mile square town) to school and turn Dixie loose to go home. Sarah would put her back in her pasture after school and her dad and I were none the wiser.
Dixie had her quirks, she wasn’t fond of adults. If an adult tried to ride her, she went for the nearest barb wire fence to tear your pants. But kids she loved. She was a great baby sitter. The grandsons got their first horse rides on her.
We knew very little about her history, but we think she was a show horse at one time – back when show horses looked alive in the ring. The first time Sarah took her in the ring at a little local horse show, she lit up and strutted her stuff. Someone had also taught her tricks. Every so often she would rear up and hold it. We couldn’t figure out what was wrong. Finally my daughter figured out the cue – touch both shoulders at the same time and she would rear on command ! ! After that it was a challenge for Sarah to figure out what other tricks she knew.
She was only with us three years before she had liver failure. I know that she knew we had scheduled the vet to come out to put her down because when I went to the barn to check on her as I did every couple of hours, she had passed away. She always had to do things her way.
She is buried back by the pond on the farm and is always in our hearts. Dixie was a very special horse – even as obnoxious as she was about adults riding her.