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Tuesday, March 3, 2009

My Old Man Turns 22

No, I'm not talking about My Man...I'm talking about My Old Man...

Tucs Big Boy aka "Toby"

Way back in 1987, I was living in Marana Arizona (just north of Tucson) working for a guy riding his horses. He raised cutting horses. One day he said to me that if I wanted that big sorrel colt in the pen of weanlings I could have him...he said he saw him cribbing and couldn't have him around.

I asked if he'd give me the papers too, and he said yes as long as I gelded him...not a this huge 8 month old colt comes home with me.

Now, I'm 5 feet tall, so you can see that at 8 months, this guy is pretty tall. I named him Toby, and he turns out to be just a sweetie. At 1 year old, he's gelded and gets his wolf teeth pulled. But, the funny thing is that this colt never cribbed. I think Jim had mistaken Toby for another colt...which he got rid of too. So, I got a perfectly good horse by accident!

I stayed in Arizona for another year or so and than came on back home to Oregon. In the spring of 1989, I took him down to the local boarding stable that had an indoor arena and started him under saddle. He was a piece of cake to start. We started trail riding as a late 2 year old and even won a competitive trail ride that year!

Look at the legs on him!

At that time in my life, I was starting a few colts and mostly just trail rode with my girl friends.

Riding around Timothy Lake on Mt. Hood.
Me 'n Toby on the left.

Then in 1993, I got a wild hair to join a drill team. Toby really wasn't a finished horse by any means...I didn't even know how to teach him to do flying lead changes. I could start colts pretty well, but didn't know to finish them...but, riding drill pretty much self taught Toby to handle himself to make everything easy...he was a super horse!

1993 at our very first demo exhibition.

Our team was practicing once or twice a week and competing 3-4 times a year and also riding in local parades. In 1994, our team decided to ride in the Portland Rose Festival Parade...the biggest parade of the year in Oregon.

All dolled up and waiting.

Riding down the streets of was a blast...
something I never dreamed I would do!
Me and Toby even made it onto the TV cameras!

I've never had children, but Toby was still a good baby sitter for the kids I did's Cowboy hitching a ride at his first camp out!

1997 at Sheep Springs campground,
Deschutes National Forest

A very monumental day in my life was on July 10, 1999. My Man and I got married. And we did it in the best way ever possible...

My Man on the late Carina & me and Toby.
A day never to be forgotten!

Drill team continued on for a total of 7 years for me and Toby. It's a hard sport when you have that many women (with different personalities) and that many horses (who always seem to have lameness issues). But all in all, it was a great experience.

The team in 2000.
Toby on the left and his twin on the right.

This was my favorite of all the outfits we ever wore.

In the latter years, some of the team members wanted to participate in rodeos as a pennant team. That was the most fun out of all the drill team stuff. The crowds, cowboys, and running was a true adrenalin rush!

Yamhill County Fair and Rodeo
Year 2000

The year 2000 was my final year in drill, and somehow I ended up being the coach as well as riding on the team. It was one of the most challenging things I've ever done. I'm proud to say that our team tied 3-4 that year at the Oregon State Meet...something the team had never done before!

We moved to Central Oregon that same fall and Toby has continued to be a super trail horse for me and My Man. And the years have gone by so quickly since then...I've gentled 4 mustangs, bought Colt and started to train him for working cow horse...something I never did with Toby.

But, with Toby's breeding as a cow horse, I thought I'd try him out as a practice horse (practicing cutting training on him while getting Colt ready to start cutting). So, Toby started his cutting career at the age of 20!! We just cut with our local club here and it's a perfect environment for beginners like me.

2007 - 2nd place year end standing
in the Novice/Novice class
after 7 competitions!!
I absolutely love this old man!

Toby injured his hip after a fall on the ice in 2007 and I gave him all of 2008 off. He's sound again, but I think I'll just ride him lightly. He loves to help me with the colts...

Toby ponying Dakota up our hill.

Toby grew to 15.3 hands and actually did pick up the bad habit of cribbing when he was about 4. But, he has been the best horse I could ever ask for...willing and kind...with good looks thrown in for good measure.

Thank you Toby for the years of friendship and fun you have given me...may you live a long and happy life here on the Rough String.

~~Happy Birthday my friend~~



Jocelyn said...

What an awesome tear jerker of a story!

Drill practice last night was a total drag, Star was just nasty and cantankerous!

I hope she gets over herself SOON!

the7msn said...

That's a great story. Toby looks so much taller than 15.3! I love his sparkly ankle wraps that match your favorite outfit.

jane augenstein said...

What a story your horse has, he is beautiful! I love your wedding neat to be married on horseback!
I hope you and Toby have a lota years and a lota miles left together! He's a big beautiful guy!!

Anonymous said...

What a lovely horse - and lovely pictures too! Thanks for sharing his birthday with us. I hope you have many happy years with him yet to come.

Faithful said...

I love your story about Toby, it brought tears to my eyes..I had my mare for 25 years..I loved her early but I wish we would have had the memorable honors you two have had together.

Heart of a Cowgirl said...

He's gorgeous, and what a pedigree he has. I'm sure he will have many more happy years with you. Great story!

Reddunappy said...

I love the oldsters that will do anything, if you can keep them sound they are worth their weight in gold! Meghan is riding our old mare again for equestrian team and she is 24, her b-day is this month. They are doing drill too, Meghan worries about her and so do I, but she (Easy) loves every minute of it! My oldsters are not babysitters though, Easy will take advantage of newbies and trot off and scare them, and Mickey who is 20 now, she still wants to buck once and awhile, LOL last time I put a newbie on Emma, the youngster at 9, she laid down to role with her on her back, little brat LOL but she will be better when she is older.

Great story about Toby, he sounds like a wonderful animal.

kdwhorses said...

What a great tribute to Toby, he sounds like a great horse! Those old men are defintely worth there weight in gold! Our Old Man turns 27 this April! I'll post a tribute to him on his birthday as well! I can tell and feel how connected you to are! Thanks for sharing your Old Man with us!!!

Latigo Liz said...

What a great horse! And what a life he has had so far!

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

I enjoyed your beautiful tribute to your special horse, Toby.
I kept reading, thinking this is great! And just when I thought it couldn't get any better, it did...again and again!
You even married your man on this special horse! Wow! He sounds like a once-in-a-lifetime kind of fella.

Here's to another 22 years, Toby!!


The Wife said...

Love the tribute to Toby. You were truly blessed with a great horse!

froglander said...

What a great post about a great horse!

Kyfarmlife said...

I love this post! He looks so much like my old man King! King is from out west somewhere, I need to look up his brand, would love to find out what all he does know to do. He is the best horse, like your toby! but this evening I went to feed and he comes limping into the barn like he broke all 4 legs! okay not that bad cause he was walking! I cant tell if its a stone in his hoof, he wouldnt let us pick them which is a tall tale sign somethings wrong, he is never out of step with anything we ask of him, but he threw a fit for the first time ever about it...hoping that whatever it is...its not serious. He was running this morning, so maybe its just a sprang...praying for the best and preparing for the visit tomorrow! My daughter is in 4-H and she is learning drill team this year! I'm excited to see her! She is a natural "horse whisperer!"

Shirley said...

Happy birthday to your very special
Toby. What a great story, thanks for sharing that with us. I love that you started a new sport with him at the age of 20!

gtyyup said...

Thank you to everyone for such beautiful comments on My Old Man Toby...he really is a once in a lifetime type of horse. I'm truly blessed.

Jocelyn~~somehow I missed that you were doing drill team!!! Duh me! From past experience...nothing against mares...but they are usually harder to work with in drill...just that mare know?

Reddunappy~~good luck to Megan and Easy with drill this year...if she doesn't do too much cranking and turning with her, she should be ok for the's pretty physical as I'm sure you know!

gtyyup said...

Kyfarmlife~~good luck with the vet visit tomorrow with King...I hope all is going to be ok with him.

Broken Y said...

I read through the comments . . . so I am not the only one tearing up! What a special blessing! He's enjoyed so many life experiences with you! I'm sure that he is just as in love with you as you are with him!

wilsonc said...

I loved your tribute to Toby. I especially enjoyed seeing you go to the Rose Parade and to Sheep Springs (my favorite place to trail ride). I am a Central Oregon girl transplanted to the west side of the mountains and I get a bit homesick reading your blog...but I love it!

C-ingspots said...

Oh Karen, please give a big old smooch to the Toby Man for me will ya? Happy Birthday Toby!!...and many, many more big guy!!
I loved this post, quite the history the two of you have had. He sounds like a great horse. Some of the greatest horses we get the priviledge (spelling??) of knowing are gifts from God himself - you two were meant to be together, I think. And boy howdy girl, you do get around!! :)

Kathleen Coy said...

Happy birthday, Toby!!! Loved this post, what a history you have with him! :-)

Anonymous said...

Great post! Toby's birthday is the same day as the Bossmans. I liked seeing your wedding picture. (P.S. I actuall got to see the whole post, slow internet and all.....woohoo)

mugwump said...

What a nice looking horse. I love the idea of learning to cut with him. You can't blow up an old friend, just laugh and have fun.

Ed said...

Fantastic post as always, HAPPY B-DAY Toby!!

Vaquerogirl said...

Ill bet ol' Toby could really lay em down! He looks like he's as fleet as a deer. Happy Birthday to an honest horse!

Andrea said...

Happy Birthday Toby!! He is one lucky horse. There are not a lot of horses that grow up with just one owner, he was so lucky to find you!! He is one handsome man!!

J and J Acres said...

What a beautiful horse and a great story!

OneCowgirl said...

Glad I am not the only one tearing up. Love all the pictures in time....LOVELY

Anonymous said...

Found your blog through the grapevine and loving it. Toby is a very handsome horse. I love that he started cutting at 20. It gives me hope that my english going old man TB might actually make it as a roping horse :) Will be back often.

Heidi said...

How cool!!! What a great horse, they truely can be your best friend cant they? I hope you have many more years together!!!

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