Sundance Kid

Tribute to Sundance Kid...Our Story

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 pursued.

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 car...oops!

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 (like, ahhh!).

Being a not-so-outgoing person, Sunny was always there to make me feel 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 anymore.

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 beloved horse.

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.

Dani Cademartori

A Poem For Sunny

As I walked around that stable, I thought about my horse.
And as I thought, I said out loud "He's in heaven, of course".

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 you.

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 sore.

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 day.

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 true.

Written By Jamie Cademartori, Age 12

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