May 21st 2017 is Rockette’s 28th birthday. She is the only member of our trail ride program that is registered. Her full name is Swinging Rockette and she was registered with the Appaloosa Horse Club
I found her while looking at a “trail gelding” that was not appropriate. Her price was much too high for me at the time but when we negotiated the 30 day trial of a palomino mare I could afford, Rockette came along for the ride so my sister-in- law, Eunice, would have a mount to ride with me. Little did I know how much that $2000 price tag was going to change my life, business and destiny.
Rockette was phenomenal, above and beyond any expectations. I had made my business on free and cheap horses that needed groceries or work so I couldn’t justify the price tag in my head nor did I actually have that kind of money. On her last day I had decided to return her and the Palomino who did not work out. But we did a 3 hour trail ride, it was the end of April and on the way home Rockette plowed through a belly deep puddle with a shim of ice on top like an ice breaker ship, opening the way for the young gelding from Massachusetts that was here for a Water Works clinic. I just couldn’t return her. They agreed to a payment plan and I struggled to come up with the $500 payments through the summer. She has made that money back many times over but she is worth so much more than the income she produces.
Rockette can be turned loose anywhere, and like a dog you can call her name and she comes running. One night while camping out at an outfitters function I left her grazing loose in a wooded opening, while the rest of the horses were tie-lined or in a small fenced area. My son and I went to get dinner which took much longer than anticipated. We returned after dark, I walked out into the field, blind. I called Rockette and all I could hear was the pounding of hooves and soon a whinny, I met her at the gate to the small enclosure, opened it up and in she went.
Rockette will work an 8 hour day on the trails from experienced rides including a gallop, to young children on a leisurely walk to Pear’s Ice Cream, she is the same energetic, patient babysitter from start to finish. She is the first to the gate, competing with Cricket most often for first dibs at the halter. She loads and trailers like a pro alone or in a group, tied out or let loose she is always ready to be your companion on a new exploration.
Rockette was once a mom before she came here and though we made several attempts to breed her she never foaled again. Her instincts are strong though. When a Standardbred mare name Jazz foaled in her pen early one morning the foal rolled under the fence while trying to gain his feet. The herd was very curious about the colt but Rockette rounded him up and with pinned ears and little nips to the butt she kept that baby too herself until help arrived. She was hard pressed to let us take her away! She was always the mom to our weanlings and taught them herd behavior and kept them safe.
She often has been used to pony green horses and used as lead horse for new horses and obstacles on the trail. One day we were crossing a bridge with a step down at one end. There were large logs supporting the bridge and they stuck out at the end about 3 feet. When it was dry we would step down between them. But it was spring and the water was running right under the bridge, the young horse I was on was worried so Rockette led the way. The man on Rockette was new, training to be a guide. I told him about the logs and asked him to let Rockette feel her way, just give her her head and be still. When she reached the end of the bridge she put her head down and without hesitation she stepped out into the rushing water. Right onto the log!! I was holding my breath and didn’t dare to say a thing to the rider who was staying centered and balanced and not interfering. She stepped out onto that log with all four hooves, one directly behind the other! She knew she was on it! I was waiting for her to slip. But as the last hoof landed so all four were under her body in a perfectly straight line from front to back she carefully stepped down off the log into the water. I have no idea how those body mechanics work but her balance and control left me in awe.
Rockette has been the cornerstone of my business for 18 years and I have very little doubt that she’ll still be going strong until her last days. In November of 2015 Rockette went into partial retirement at the home of a friend who was with me the day I bought her. She had always said that if I ever needed a home for Rockette that she would take her. This “retirement” coincided with her daughter turning 10 years old and having had two years of riding lessons. Rockette will carry her into a whole new world of outdoor adventure!!