My favorite horse of all time would have to be my best buddy and traveling partner, "Smashed at Six", better known as "Smash". He was an AQHA gelding by Easily Smashed and out of a daughter of Streakin Six. He came to me by a trade when he was a long 3 year old and was somewhat of an outlaw. He had been started on barrels by Jim Warner, but after returning home decided to start bucking off his owners. I didn't like him at all when I first got him and tried to sell him for $2500 for at least a year, just to get my money out of the trade (at that I was losing $1000!). But nobody wanted a plain sorrel that would turn barrels sometimes and run off other times. I had so much money in him by the next year that I decided I was just going to have to turn him into a winner, because I couldn't get rid of him. That year he made a few runs (in between run-offs) that made me think he might live up to his breeding and suddenly, I didn't want to sell him! By the time he was 6, I was winning some open rodeos and thinking maybe I hadn't made such a bad trade!! Especially since I'd also had several offers much higher than what I originally wanted for him! Needless to say, by then I wanted more than $2500 for him! His 7th year was my long gone dreams come true. I had always wanted to qualify for the IFR, but always felt I didn't have the horse to do it with and felt I was getting too old to try. Smash changed all that. In 1997, I bought my IPRA card in April (4 months after the season started) and qualified for the IFR in only 4 months (while I was out of school for the summer). That same year I won Rookie of the Year and the 1D championship at Drysdales. Smash placed in 60% of the rodeos I entered and placed in the top 3 in 90% of those!!! I set 4 arena records and won around $20,000. I ended up 7th in the final standings of the IPRA and made Equi-Stat's top 100 riders for 1997. What a high!!! I was kind of dreading the next year because I figured I couldn't top that, but in 1998, Smash just got better. He won Barrel Mania 1D champ, placed in the 1D at Drysdales, qualified for the IFR again and won a go round at the finals and ended up winning about $40,000 total that year and I once again made the top 100 riders. In 1999, I was trying to qualify for my 3rd IFR and was hauling hard. Smash's performance started going down and I missed making the finals by $200.
It never occurred to me that he might be hurt because he never limped, never refused the pen or did anything to tip me off. I continued hauling him and he valiantly kept bringing in checks, but he was running ever slower. In 2000, my mother became ill and passed away, so I didn't haul him much and he didn't do too well when I did. Finally, by 2001, I knew something was wrong. I'd had him to every good vet that was recommended to me (plus acupuncturists, chiropractors, psychics, etc.) No one seemed to be able to help him. He'd been injected, blistered, massaged, fed special potions, etc. all to no avail. Then, in the latter part of 2002, Dr. Gary White in Sallisaw, OK, finally found out what was wrong with him. He had fallen around the 3rd barrel at Ft. Smith in June of 1999. From there on, his performance had deteriorated. Dr. White found upon pelvic examination that he had broken his pelvis, and we surmise it happened during that fall at Ft. Smith. By the time it was found (after thousands of dollars had been spent treating OTHER things), it had already healed back, and there was so much scar tissue that he was never the same. I still ran him occasionally, but he never came back to the level he had previously attained, and I retired him altogether in the fall of 2003. In September of 2007, he colicked and had to be euthanized. He is buried in the pasture at Guinn Acres where he lived and ruled supreme for 15 years.
I really miss my traveling partner, but I will forever be grateful to the Lord for giving me the opportunity to own him and for letting me enjoy the thrill of riding him.. He allowed me to attain goals that I thought were long gone. As long as I live he will be the standard to which I compare all my other horses . He never failed to give me everything he had, and when the big money was up, that's when he ran the toughest.. He had a heart the size of Texas and he will never be replaced. Sometimes, when the wind is just right, I still think I hear him nicker at me...He was that "once in a lifetime" horse that everyone dreams of owning, and I actually got that chance. Man, what a ride!
Don't cry for the horses, that life has set free A million white horses forever to be Don't cry for the horses, now in God's hands As they dance and they prance to a heavenly band
They were ours as a gift, but never to keep As they close their eyes , forever to sleep Their spirits unbound, on silver wings they fly A million white horses, against the blue sky
Look up into heaven, you'll see them above The horses we lost, the horses we loved Manes and tails flowing, they gallop through time, They were never yours, they were never mine
Don't cry for the horses, they will be back someday When our time has come, they will show us the way. Do you hear that soft nicker, close to your ear? Don't cry for the horses, love the ones that are here.