Tribute to Sundance Kid...Our
I guess every little girl
wants a horse...I know I did. As a small child, I often begged Grandma for
a sugar cube. The sugar cubes were collected in a cup on my dresser, to be
saved for my horse.
As the years passed, this young teenager decided to make her dream become
reality. I worked and saved my money. Before long, I was out horse shopping,
and had my heart set on a Palomino.
My folks were great, patiently running me around, looking at various prospects,
none quite right. Then one day, my cousin called me, and told me about a
woman she knew, who was selling her mare's colt. He was barely 3 years old,
and a Palomino. Arrangements were made for me to go on a long ride with the
woman and her family.
When I arrived at the Lazy K Ranch, the woman (Marty) took me out to the
horse barn. She opened the door to a stall bearing the name "Sundance Kid".
We were immediately greeted by the warm nuzzle of a beautiful golden horse,
and I was already in love! Soon we were running through cornfields and hopping
over logs, and I very much wanted that horse. Marty told me that Sunny was
registered with the Palomino Horse Breeders of America. She told me that
he could be double registered like his mother "Stranger's Gold", because
he was full Quarter Horse. Although it sounded nice, it was something I never
Sunny never entered any type of shows or competitions. We did share many
special trail rides and many special times. He was a very sloppy fruit
eater...give him a pear or apple, and after thoroughly enjoying it, he would
thank you gratefully by slobbering all over your shirt or someone elses.
Once a lady told her husband "oh honey, give this pretty horse an apple",
and after Sunny ate it, he slobbered all over the man's fancy red
Another one of Sunny's unique habits was to stop and pause when he had
to urinate, and then after a long pee, he would let out a big sigh of relief
Being a not-so-outgoing person, Sunny was always there to make me feel
better...my true friend. Whether I needed confidence or someone to share
my secrets with, Sunny was always the one I could count on. He would blow
his warm breath into my ear in response. He was my best friend, and I loved
him with all my heart.
That horse was also my guardian angel. As we were running once,
I suddenly came tumbling over his shoulder. He stopped for me, and I sort
of just slid down his neck and landed on my feet. One time we were out on
a ride, and encountered a very steep slope. The older horses in front of
us started balking, so I was scared. For some reason, Sunny wasn't afraid...he
just plodded down the hill, munching on any nearby clover he could find...that
was of course, until my saddle slid sideways, and I was hanging on to his
belly! Sunny just stood there with his eyes popping, until Don Condit
came to our rescue.
Then there was the time that my friend and I rode to her parents trailer,
and 'brilliantly' decided to tie our horses to a clothesline. I don't remember
exactly how it happened, but Sunny and I somehow got tangled up in the ropes.
We were both scrambling, and I went down under him. I only remember covering
my head for fear of getting kicked, and yelling "help!" My friend's Dad came
running, and quickly cut the ropes with a knife. Sunny stumbled to the ground,
and my friend's older sister grabbed and hugged me. My friend's Dad said:
"that horse did all he could to keep from falling on you!" Sunny just looked
at me, and let out a big sigh.
As 28 years of our life went by, Sunny watched me get married and have
three children. They all loved him, especially my little girl (of course!).
In his later years, Sunny began to develop a laminitis problem,
and arthritis was also creeping in. For a while, I would only let my 70 lb.
daughter ride him.
Soon after that, Sunny wasn't ridden at all. He had his good days and his
bad days. We tried having his front hooves trimmed a certain way (per Vet),
to try to alleviate some discomfort. He soon had to be trimmed while he was
lying down, as he had a tough time raising his legs. Some days when I would
try to lead him, he would resist. Then he would put his nose down to his
front lower legs, as if to say "my feet hurt". We added supplements containing
Chondroitin and Glucosamine to his feed, and gave his B-L (Buteless) Solution.
I rubbed his legs with Absorbine. Again, he had good days and bad days.
Despite the fact that Sunny loved to eat and was now on Senior Feed, he was
losing weight. He also developed some kind of ugly open wounds along his
mane. The Vet wasn't quite sure if it was a fungus or what. Sunny was placed
on Penicillin shots and we were given topical medication to apply. The wounds
slowly improved somewhat...I guess his immune system wasn't quite up to par
When it got to the point that Sunny was spending more time lying
down flat then standing, he needed to be separated from the other horses.
The horses at Condit's Ranch are pasture boarded, with a big aluminum barn
that is open for shelter. Don now closed up a small barn for Sunny, and insulated
it with a lot of straw to keep him comfortable from the winter elements.
Sunny didn't walk out of the barn for water, so Don brought in a big bucket
so he could drink. I now began to worry also about Sunny being lonely...he
was such a social horse, with other horses and especially people. We decided
it was time.
The last day, I sat next to Sunny on the ground. I hugged him, and fed
him baby carrots and pears. My holy Scapular encircled his neck. I buried
my nose in his warm golden coat, and didn't want to stop smelling him. He
breathed his warm breath into my ear, like he did so many times before. I
didn't want to move...ever.
The Vet would come soon, and Don didn't want me to be there. I respected
his advice, as he knew me for 28 years. I also know Sunny was very attached
to Don as well as me, because Don was with him every day. So as I cried,
I hugged Don, and handed him a statue of St. Francis, to be buried with my
My dearest Sunny, I miss you so. I loved you so much, and I always will
love you. Be at peace, my dear friend, and play with your Hoofbeats in Heaven
friends and other friends that have gone before you. Please be there waiting
for me at Heaven's Gate, so we can together ride away.
By the way, Sunny would
never touch a sugar cube.
A Poem For
As I walked around that
stable, I thought about my horse.
And as I thought, I said out loud "He's in heaven, of
He was the sweetest
horse I'll ever know, he was loving and caring too.
You could talk to him about your problems, and he always understood
The last day I ever
saw him, he looked a lot worse than before.
His ribs were showing, he was lying down, but his feet were still tired and
Tears were streaming
down my cheeks, but I didn't wipe them away.
Instead I layed by him and hugged him, wishing he'd be in heaven some
The days that he was
suffering, I wanted my heart to mend.
I didn't want Sunny to die...he was my very best friend!
Now when I think of
him, frowning isn't what I do.
Instead I smile because I have a feeling that my wish came
Written By Jamie Cademartori,