Watch Joe Sassy

May 5, 1995 - August 13, 2006

Her name was Watch Joe Sassy, but everyone called her Sassy. She had Two Eyed Jack as her great grandpa, and it showed. But her occupation turned from chasing cow trusty to a champion. It was only at a local show, but to me it could've been The World Show. At the time, I didn't know that it would be her last day.

Her name served her right, but she could always make me giggle with having to always talk her into picking up her right lead or just allowing me to rub with medication in her ears to rid her of the insects. Living here in the north, our winters are so cold, so every spring she would kick up her heels. I could trust her to take care with an inexperienced rider, yet she pulled through on a hot day at a show.

She taught me how to ride. She taught me life lessons. The most important thing she taught me was strength. She was the 'everything' horse, she could do everything from showmanship to Hunter Hack to Reining to Barrels to backyard trails. I used her for everything! She did try hard for my dad and I.

I remember I was trying to get into barrel racing. She was the only horse we had. My dad, Darin, knew someone who had won some jackpots, so we asked her to help train Sassy. She wouldn't let her ride, she would just rear and balk. Once I got on, she immediately stopped and let me trot and lope around the barrels that we set up. It was our first competition and I was nervous. I galloped to the first barrel, then I ran to the second barrel too fast. Sassy knew I could not stay on, so she stopped. I was mad. Now I know that she saved me, maybe even my life, because I wasn't wearing a helmet. I still believe that is part of the highlight of my life.

Then a few years later I was trotting around our little pasture. I was riding her with halter and reins. When she thought that she had enough, she ran to a tree hoping I would jump off. Needless to say, I didn't. I received an aneurysm because of the impact of the tree and my head. One story that I'm not proud of, but since when is anyone proud of making bad decisions. Even though she caused me to get an aneurysm, I still love her every day, and know that the new horse that I have still won't fill her shoes. She was so amazing, even to the last minute of her life.

I was running poles with my other horse when Sassy went down. A friend of ours is a vet tech, so we asked her what to do. She said go to the vet NOW. Sassy didn't have any gut sounds on her left side. I didn`t know what was going on. My dad is more of the rancher type and never experienced colic, so he didn't know much about it either. The vet didn't know exactly what it was. He gave Sassy some electrolytes and some powerful painkillers. Sassy was still showing signs of colic, but they seemed to fade away. We took her to a friend's house. He lived much closer than we did to the vet. By the time we got there she was feeling great. She was there before, so she went to her favorite run. She was even nickering to the other horses there. I slept until 3:00 a.m. Then my dad came in to say that Sassy needed to go to the vet again. When I went to see her, she was laying down and wouldn't get up. She was in so much pain. We put her in the trailer and drove to the vet clinic. He (the vet) came in and asked many questions. He said he still didn't know the complete cause of her colic. We decided to have them do a surgery to fix this problem that turned my lifetime companion into a sick horse. They told us that she developed a twisted intestine and there was nothing that they could do, as it was too far along. Some of her intestine already died and released toxic chemicals into her body. It was five o'clock in the morning of August 13, 2006. All I can remember is complete sorrow. I will never forget the rain on the windshield of our pick-up pulling an empty trailer home.

Those hours were the hardest times of my life, but I've learned from them. I still love her and as I write this over a year later, I break down and cry. It's hard and I would never bestow that on anyone, even my worst enemy. The grief of her death is the purest sorrow that I believe is one of the hardest things on earth.

As my dad and I were coming home from church one day, Poison's "I Won't Forget You, Baby",  song came on and I knew that it turned into her song. She was my girl. I grew up with her and she grew up with me. We took care of each other.

I love you, Sassy! You will always be my baby.

Thank you for reading this memorial for my beloved Watch Joe Sassy.

Nicole Starck, 15

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