R.I.P. Sunday

Posted: May 26, 2015 in Animals, Family, Memories, Personal
Tags: , , , , ,

There’s no such thing as a perfect horse, but if you’re lucky, you’ll find a horse that’s perfect for you and if you do, it’s a gift.  In my case, it was literally a gift, as my dad bought not only Sunday, but all the other horses we have or have had in Wyoming.  Although Sunday wasn’t, strictly speaking, my horse only, she was, for all intents and purposes, mine.

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Still beautiful at 25 or so (Sunday, not me.)

Sunday was a beautiful Missouri Fox Trotter.

The Missouri Fox Trotter is a horse breed from the state of Missouri in the United States. It was developed in the Ozark Mountains by settlers in the early 19th century, and quickly developed into a gaited breed appreciated for its stock horse abilities, stamina and smooth gaits. It performs an ambling gait known as the “fox trot”, a four-beat broken diagonal gait in which the front foot of the diagonal pair lands before the hind, eliminating the moment of suspension and increasing smoothness.  (Wikipedia)

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I’m someone who walks quickly and I’ve done a bit of sprinting in my day as well, so I appreciate a horse that moves.  When you’re riding mostly on mountain trails, a horse that walks without urging is wonderful.  Sunday not only never needed to be urged in any way, she walked with alacrity and, until she got old, walked away from every other horse.  Our group rides consisted of the two of us doing intervals of walking and waiting.  When the second horse in line got to a certain point, Sunday wanted to start again.  She could also outrun the other horses and because she was a Fox Trotter, she had a smooth gait between a walk and a canter that ate up the distance without bouncing a rider all over.  We always said that when Sunday died, it would probably be going as fast as she could.

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She didn’t want to stop for long, especially on the way back to the corral!

One story that’s gone into the family history covers a ride that Bill and I did on Lad and Sunday.  Lad was also a Fox Trotter, but he was heavier and slower.  He was willing, though.  We were coming up a very long, rough, four-wheel road and Bill decided to get Lad into a gallop and outrun us.  Didn’t happen.  Sunday stayed just in front of Lad until Lad was huffing and puffing so hard he could have given the Big Bad Wolf a lesson or two.  We were laughing so hard we almost fell off.

Every horse has something it doesn’t like and for Sunday, it was squirrels.  As we went along the trail, she would sometimes shy a bit or at least give a suspicious glance to the little squirrels that popped up on trees, dead wood, or scurrying across the trail.  I’m not sure what she thought they might do, but she was keeping an eye on them.

Although we saw lots of wildlife as we rode, we’d also, too often for me, come across cattle.  The government leases out land to ranchers and if it’s a dry year, cattle will be brought up the mountain and allowed to roam and eat.  Where there are cattle, there are cattle who will break down a barbed wire fence.  A cow will just lean into the fence and then, once it’s down, all the cattle will make their way across because, as we all know, the grass is greener on the other side.  When you try to move cattle along a trail or road, their favorite thing to do is to get mothers and calves on opposite sides, running along, bawling, dropping cow pies, then scattering in all directions.  But they don’t usually go very fast and that’s what drove Sunday crazy.  She would have been perfectly happy to follow them at a good pace, but instead, she danced and danced in frustration as they plodded along.

About three or four years ago, Sunday was in her late twenties, relatively old for a horse.  She couldn’t survive the winter running out on someone’s ranch, the way all the horses spend their winters.  My dad paid to have her stay on a ranch and then a few year ago, we gave her to the people who’d been keeping her.  They spoiled her and she was like a grandma to their younger horses.  But this winter, at about 30 years old, she had to be put down.  Even though I knew it was coming and knew it was time, it’s still sad.

Sunday and I went everywhere and went everywhere quickly.  We covered many miles and spent enjoyable hours both going along trails and off trails.  We saw and did a lot of things and enjoyed every minute of it.  Sunday was, for me, the perfect horse, and I’ll miss her greatly.  R.I.P., Sunday, and thanks for the memories!

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Comments
  1. barnraised says:

    Sorry for your loss. This breaks my heart. But what a beautiful and loving tribute…

  2. Lena says:

    So sorry for your loss, but what a loving post and fine stories. It seems she was a really special horse though! ❤

  3. Hello Janet, that a lovely tribute to Sunday, you have so many treasured memories to hold forever….

  4. nowathome says:

    Janet it must be so sad! You had wonderful times with her!! Beautiful memories 🙂

  5. It’s so sad that Sunday had to go to that bridge… I’m so sorry that you lost this wonderful horse. Many thanks for sharing your memories with me, now in my memory Sunday is the horse who won the race with the huffing&puffing Lad ….

  6. Always hard to lose a member of the family. It sounds like you helped Sunday have a wonderful retirement. We actually had a Fox Trotter many years ago – beautiful gentleman.

  7. words4jp says:

    oh how i wish the ‘special people’ in our lives can live longer lives – xxx

  8. Ompong says:

    It’s really saddening to have a lovely white horse such as Sunday fly up to the heavens… But as you said, the memories she left with you are the best gifts she may have given in your life. 🙂

  9. billgncs says:

    She was a good horse.

  10. Thanks for sharing this story. Animals make our lives so much better.

  11. Oh, I’m so sorry, Janet. What a beautiful tribute. Sweet-looking horse. The photographs are so lovely. Animals leave such huge voids. Sending big hugs your way.
    Theadora

  12. Joanne says:

    What wonderful times you had with Sunday – such beautiful memories! 🙂

  13. Nato says:

    So sorry to hear about your loss. I can only imagine the pain. I have a horse that is in her mid to late 20s and I can’t bear the thought of losing her. She has been a great friend and ever so patient with my learning curve. Thank you for sharing your story. Rest in Peace Sunday.

    • Thanks for visiting and commenting. My dad bought another horse that will be a great substitute, but she won’t be Sunday. I’ll enjoy her in her own right and keep my wonderful memories. 🙂

      janet

  14. Good to remember the special moments, such beautiful memories.

  15. de Wets Wild says:

    What a grand old lady! RIP Sunday. Sorry for your loss Janet.

  16. What a beautiful horse, I’m so sorry for your loss but happy you have so many wonderful memories.

  17. Norma says:

    There are some bonds made forever and great is the pain to lose such kind souls. May she RIP. Sorry for your loss Janet.

  18. Lisa says:

    amazing horse..thank you for sharing the memories 🙂

  19. Some beautiful photos to remember her by Janet. Sorry to hear about your loss. I have been going out to visit some ponies and I can appreciate the connection you have with them.

  20. Dear Janet,

    I’m sorry to hear about Sunday. I know she was a good friend to you. May your memories of her be blessed.

    Shalom,

    Rochelle

  21. Shannon says:

    You two were perfect together! Many great Sunday memories!

  22. DawnSeeker says:

    :)) Great eulogy to your lovely Sunday. I think you’ll enjoy hearing about Starboy, still sound and wonderful at 27 this year. We treasure each encounter with a great horse, knowing that one day, will be the last . . . :)) Dawn

    https://soulhorseride.wordpress.com/2013/11/26/wonderful-willing-starboy/
    https://soulhorseride.wordpress.com/2013/07/13/my-horse-is-so-cute/
    https://soulhorseride.wordpress.com/2014/03/31/riding-the-allure-the-passion-the-obsession/

    • Sunday was a special horse, Dawn. She wasn’t my first horse. I’ll write about him at some point soon, I think, as I found some old snapshots of him and a much, much younger me. It’s such a blessing to find just the right horse for you. I have a pretty good successor right now, for which I thank my Dad, who found her for me.

      janet

      • DawnSeeker says:

        Is your Dad still alive?

      • He is. My parents live in Arizona, but they drove up to Wyoming for a week this summer while I was there. He doesn’t ride anymore, but they have a great time. When he was riding, we rode everywhere, even places where we had to get off and lead the horses out because there wasn’t enough room to turn around. It was great! 🙂

      • DawnSeeker says:

        You are very, very blessed to still have him!!!! Like Sunday, like Starboy — savor the time you have left with him!!! Here is the story of my Dad. He died when I was just 16, but he bought me my horse, Rebel, when I was 13. Without Dad getting me that horse, I might not have realized my dreams!!!

        https://journalofdawn.wordpress.com/2013/06/07/you-can-do-anything/

      • We had a horse named Rebel as well, a grey, beautiful half-Arab. Our younger daughter loved him, but one winter, he didn’t come out of the winter pasture with all the other horses (that’s where they go when they have to come off the mountain.) We don’t know if he died or was stolen, but we miss him.

      • DawnSeeker says:

        I love the half-Arabs. My herd mostly this, and I have a Lad, as well!!! :)) I added Shire to my herd two generations ago, and it’s been wonderful. Bigger, strong, but combined with the Arab, still zippy! (The Shire stallion was in town with our local gypsy circus trainer for jousting!!! He covered my then 21-year-old mare twice in the fall heat cycle, and I got my mare, Fae. A beautiful miracle.)

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