Blizzard was a member of our herd for many, many years, and we saw him move through the ranks. In his younger years, he was reserved for the larger guests, as he was a strong and good natured horse, able to carry almost any load. Later, as and “old man,” he carried only small children, and took care of them as if he knew how precious they are.
Named for the “blanket” on his behind, in his younger day Blizzard was a beautiful horse. A brown appaloosa with a white blanket, he has been seen in stock photos around the world from the horse drive photo clinics we held each fall. We have seen him on calendars and magazines, in advertisements for companies ranging from insurance to western wear, and even on an “inspirational” poster with the word “LEADERSHIP” and some quote printed below.
He always had an endearing nature, and been the recipient of more apples and carrots over the fence than most horses here because of it. Along with the affectionate side, however, was a little bit of the devil. I have head this about many appaloosas, and Blizzard is no exception. Many times guests have told me about being splashed in the water by him, or some other little incident that showed Blizzard’s humor and made them laugh. There are many stories here about him, and one is legendary.
Any rides heading to the West from the ranch crossed a canal carrying irrigation water to the settling pond. In some places the water comes well up above the belly of the horse, and riders need to take their feet out of the stirrups to keep them dry. Many new riders find themselves a little off balance at this point, having never crossed water before. The horses, on the other hand, know all about it.
The rider in front of Blizzard lost his hat in the canal, and his horse was in a hurry to get out of the water, leaving it behind. Blizzard’s rider thought he would be helpful, and reached for the wayward headwear. As he extended himself, Blizzard reached around to his other side, and pushing on the rider’s foot, sent him swimming. Fortunately, the only thing that was hurt was his pride, and the incident has given us years of chuckles.