Uncle Sonny was my great-great uncle who had a love for fancy lookin’ horses. He bought a colt for $5000 back in the late 90’s. He would come home after being gone all day and saddle his Palomino stud horse he named Samson but called him “Sonny”. There he would sit in his 30x30 horse corral and be lost in dreams of gathering wild cows in the wasteland of California.
Uncle Sonny passed away in his recliner leaving behind his family and his well treasured horses. In the corrals were a Dun Mare and a handsome Palomino. We ended up getting these horses. And for that I will always be thankful.
Delilah was the mare, I would ride her after Church when us kids would go check cows with Dad. She was a good horse, we had some “babies” out of her and the Handsome Sonny. As a matter of fact, my Dad taught us kids the “birds and the bees” with these two horses. Anyone having a ranch dad would understand that.
Sonny needed some work to be a ranch horse. He had never had a loop thrown off of him, he had never dragged a calf to a fire pit. My dad got this handsome horse where he needed to be.
Now being from Southern California there were wild cows there. I have pictures of my dad in the middle of a river throwing a loop off Sonny to dally off to these rank ol’ cows. He was worked in the years my dad was molding him. Sonny no longer became a project horse, he became a cowboys horse. My dad had him trained so well, Sonny would just lift his foot up to the hoof stand to rasp his hoofs…I loved that. My dad would kind of grumble and say, “ You should have seen me shoe him when we first got him.”
I didn’t become interested in ways of the Vaqueros, Buckaroos and horsemanship until I was 18. So be it…I needed a horse to call mine. My dad called the vet, Sonny was no longer a stud and he was mine.
This is where my dad was molding me on a finished horse. Teaching me to relax, and be emotionally connected with the horse (that’s my version of saying that). My dad and Sonny were my patient teachers. Sonny and I were friends, but I learned to be in control. There I was making my dad proud to be on this stout horse, and I was proud to be riding such an gifted horse. My dad would be watching me in the round pen build my confidence and after every ride my dad would say, “Ya did good.”
My favorite thing to do on Sonny was push Momma cows, we would get up behind one and his ears would pin back. Nothing was getting away from him. He never was to good just riding on a trail, he did better when there was work that had to get done. On the trail, we would be working our way up to a big hill, sometimes even little one…he would lope until we got to the very top. My dad said, “You don’t want a horse that’s going to quit ya in the middle of a hill, do ya?”
Everyone thought he was just a kind hearted horse. And very good looking at that. At one branding and old Mexican said, “I love your horse, he no spook at all.”
Needless to say I was proud of what Sonny and I had become. I decided at a branding that it was my turn to try and rope. Kody talked me into it, he could tell I wanted too. Now I’m left handed and my dad is right handed. People may not know this, but when you’ve only been roped on as a horse by a right hand its different on your opposite side. But Sonny did good. He helped me find my spots and didn’t mind dragging calves behind him.
Sonny helped me with my first ranch rodeo. Let me tell you how nervous I was in front of the whole town. But he did good, and so did I. He also was there for my second ranch rodeo where he did the same thing. What I really loved about Sonny, is he knew if it wasn’t me, my dad or Kody on his back. He would take advantage of someone who didn’t want to control him. I’m not sure why I was so proud of that, maybe that was my safety net of me thinking I was getting better at riding.
Sonny helped me, become me. He got me confident enough to go from a trot to a run, he helped me to stay on, so you don’t get so mad that you just stop. He taught me patience and love. He taught me to throw some loops, and how to work with cows.
September 16th was Sonny’s last day, he just lied down and went to sleep. Sonny was only 15 years old. He also passed away with a brand new set of iron on his feet. For some reason I don’t want this story to end because it is a story of a darn good horse that was mine. I will always have memories of me and Sonny. He was not only my teacher but he brought the same interest to me that my dad has always had. This story is dedicated to Sonny and other good horses that were taken to soon.
- Wyoming Wife
- I was raised in California, where my family ranched along with my parents raising us 5 kids, sometimes a few extra with them involved in foster care. I remember as a little girl how I loved watching my Dad ride...especially the gritty horses. He has a special way with horses. I knew from a kid that I wanted to marry a Cowboy...so I did. Although I haven't been a Wyoming Wife for long, my husband and I live an exciting life together. Not only are we partners but were the best of friends. These are going to be stories which include my emotions (which as a female they seem to be on the fritz sometimes!), days gone bad, and days that ended absolutely perfect. All in all...this is just a journal of my crazy, beautiful life as a Wyoming Wife.