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Guest Post: Ode to Sanadian

Those of us lucky enough to be raised around horses will tell you, we always have “that” special horse. My Dad had Leo and I had Dusty. These horses are once in a lifetime horses. Our memory makers. Our companions and friends. When Carol sent me this post I cried when reading it, it reminded me of  my Dusty horse so much. Carol has been great help to me with my Throwback Thursday posts, and really has a knack for writing. I was super excited when she agreed to do a guest post for theBeefJar.com!


A Bittersweet Farewell

by Carol Viscarra

Today… I start my day in it’s usual way ~~ a stout cup of iced coffee, a leisurely moment at the computer, trying to search out something positive from the news headlines, something to tie my anchor to in our complex and puzzling world. Pausing to reflect about ALL that is good and right in my world. And indeed, there is so much to be thankful for.

But today is NO usual day. I cannot begin to pretend that it is. Today we say a final goodbye to a beloved horse, Sanadian, that has been a living, breathing, partner in our family, helping our family with one of the most precious tasks of all, the rearing of our grandchildren. Some of you will stop reading right here, and that is OK, for your life experiences may not have gifted you an understanding of emotion I wish to share.

Sanadian came to our family “free”. He had some stiffness in his front shoulder that made it difficult for him to continue the hard physical work as a “cowboy’s” horse. But here, in Indian Valley, he was to meet a little girl who needed a horse to call her own and it would be his job now to teach her what it meant to truly have a cowgirl’s heart .

Sanadian exited the trailer, his lead rope handed directly to the 3 foot tall little person who was to become his master….he paused, leaned forward and exquisitely lowered his muzzle to take in a full breath of the smell of this little person…and Faith Ann, as if on cue, stood on her highest tippy toes, offering the full measure of her face and being ..as if to say “Hello” friend. And from that simple moment in time..in the matter of instant, a bond was forged that would prove life changing for Faith Ann.

Was Sanadian a “kids horse”??? That is an easy answer. That would be a most definite NO…he was an alpha male…a pistol… Had spent years in Idaho as a ranch horse with a no nonsense job… Always in charge…keeping his rider safe but cutting no slack for stupidity, ignorance or mistakes…..not even if you were 3 foot tall and 5 years old.

Sanadian let FaithAnn take her fair share of falls… you could almost read his mind “put me on a cow sister..and you better hang on”. But when she would come off, he was so purposely careful not to step on her or injure her… he would stop.. put his muzzle to the ground where she lay and look at her as if to say…”get on girlfriend..let’s try that again” Barrels and poles..what is THAT?? Well OK.. I will do it but I don’t have to like it!! Scooby Doo race..now wait just about a minute…When Sanadian would find himself in the unfortunate position of being scrubbed, shampooed and polished…he would heave a huge sighs… because he knew what indignities awaited him… another kids gymkhana or parade…

This horse embodied and complimented Faith Ann’s human family in cultivating the “traits of the soul”. Be kind, be fair, honorable to your responsibilities to those who need you , and if you are gonna ride…ride like the wind!!

And now we know that the time has come to say goodbye..before another cold hard winter..a winter that leaves you, Sanadian, weak and thin, ribby and rough coated. A shell of your former beauty and grace…the bright light in your eyes dimmed.

Your human family owes you a huge debt of gratitude. We owe you the dignity in death that you embodied in life, to NOT find yourself down in the cold mud, no longer able to rise on your own. To NOT be able to take in enough nutrition to sustain yourself.

Sanadian, your final task is done.

Faith Ann has the true heart of a cowgirl!!

FaithAnn and Sanadian

FaithAnn and Sanadian

My Parting Prayer
St. Francis
to come escort this beloved companion 
across the Rainbow Bridge.
Assign Sanadian to a place of honor,
for he has been a faithful servant
Bless, Roberta, and the hands that send him to you, 
for they are doing so in love and compassion,
Grant us the strength not to dwell on our loss.
 Help us remember the details of his life
 and the love he has shown Faith Ann
Thank you, Lord, 
for the gift of his companionship
and for the many lessons taught

Carol can be reached at narmrn@frontiernet.net

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Throwback Thursday: Wayne McCoy April 2, 1944

This week’s Throwback Thursday is another photo from “Sammie’s Friends” envelope. I’m going through that envelope because some of the pictures do have names and dates on the back making it much easier to find people. However, this particular individual has proven to be a decidedly harder than the last to find. This week I found a photo of Wayne McCoy from April 2, 1944. I research for him on find a grave and google and didn’t find too much. 

Look at this cowboy! Isn't this a pretty photo?

Look at this cowboy! Isn’t this a pretty photo? Look at those roses behind that cowhand.

I  did find out that Mr. McCoy got married. There is a Mrs. Wayne McCoy on a List of Prospective Trial Jurors For 1959 Made Public by Clerk. I know they had at least three kids, one being Vickie (she was born very close to Sammie Jr.’s death). I know he was in a car accident, with his Dad. But that is where my trail ends cold. 

Wayne McCoy April 2, 1944

Wayne McCoy April 2, 1944

I think this an unquestionably cool picture that he or his family would probably love to have! I know someone out there remembers The McCoy’s and possibly know where they are now. So again, I ask for your help Readers. What do you know about them? Please leave me a comment and point me in a direction. Thank you!

 

 


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Throwback Thursday: December 6, 1946

This week’s throwback post is fascinating to me because I love this woman’s nickname! Jinks!!

Jinks Retzlaff

Jinks Retzlaff

I found this picture among Sammie Brown Jr’s pictures. I can tell by the corral and mountains this was taken on the Pony Hill Ranch, in Indian Valley.  The writing on the back says this is:

Silvergold Dick

March 31, 1944

Jinks Retzlaff

January 14, 1926

December 6, 1946

The back of the photo

The back of the photo

Most of Sammie’s pictures are of horses. I have over a hundred black and white photos of beautiful horses from this time. I know he was very well know for his horsemanship and taught many, many people lessons. In fact, I occasionally get emails from people that knew him back in the day. I love it because they often have interesting stories and tidbits for me.
I did a little digging and found out that indeed Jinks Retzlaff, aka, Frances Marion “Jinks” Retzlaff Velasco was a local Indian Valley girl. It appears that she and Sammie went to high school together. Jinks sounded like a really fascinating woman and according to her obituary it sounds like she had an interesting  and fulfilling life. I know she still has family living, so if any of my readers know how I could contact them to get them this picture, that would be great!


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Wordless Wednesday: Sleepy Head

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Wordless Wednesday: Sam Brown’s Cattle in Upper Bidwell Park Jan 11, 1935

Harry Lutz Driving Cattle in Bidwell Park Jan 11, 1935

 

S. Brown's cattle in Upper Bidwell Park Jan 11 1935

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Wordless Wednesday: Best Friends Forever

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Headshots – AKA I’m So Vain

For the first time in my adult life I had professional pictures taken of myself. I had to, I’ve had several requests for headshots, and the picture I made my Mom take of me a couple years ago wasn’t cutting it.

 

The headshot I made my Mom take.

The headshot I made my Mom take.

Now I am lucky enough to know many, talented photographers. I asked my social media friends if anyone would be interested in taking some “real” pictures of me, with lighting, and lens, and make-up and photoshop! I was secretly hoping, my friend Shannon Rosan would have some time, and she did! (You may know her work from Jenny’s wedding (that’s how I met Shannon).

Before and after hair and make-up.

Before and after hair and make-up.

I was also hoping my friend Maddie Rae at Reborn Salon, would have time to lend her expertise to my hair and make-up. I lack sorely in the cosmetic and beauty knowledge department, and since these pictures were professional, I wanted talented make-up and hair artist.

So here you go, this is what an amazing, nationally known photographer and stellar professional make-up and hair artist look like:

I love it.

I love it. I love the ranch and light behind me.

This is Joe horse! The last Ranch horse. My Papa gave him to me.

This is Joe horse! The last Ranch horse. My Papa gave him to me.

YAY!

YAY!

I like my hair in this one.

I like my hair in this one.

I have hay hooks and I know how to use them!

I have hay hooks and I know how to use them!

 

I look famous.

I look famous.

More Joe.

More Joe.

Head-shot!

Headshot!

This was such a fun, confidence building event. I felt pretty! I highly recommend everyone do this at least  once in your life!! A big thank you to Maddie and Shannon! You ladies rock!

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Wordless Wednesday: MOAR

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April 9, 2014 · 7:30 pm

Wordless Wednesday: Joe

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Leo Horse

My first memory of Leo is my Dad telling me he found a new horse. My Great Aunties used to raise all of our own horses on this ranch. Of course, as a small child I didn’t realize how amazing that was. I just knew their were lots and lots and lots of pretty horses for me to play with and look at. My Dad promised me that soon, he was going to take me to meet this new baby horse that was to be his.

Leo as a two year old – learning how to be a horse.

When I was a little girl all ranch work was done on horseback. This was back in the early 1980’s, we didn’t have polaris and 4-wheelers like we do now. If you wanted to check on your cattle, you had to saddle up and take off at a high trot come back, get lunch, get a new horse, and take off at a high trot*. Everyday (it’s not as romantic as it sounds, trust me, there really is something to be said for a 4-wheeler). But that was why we had a lot of horses. Plus every time my Dad would get a horse good and broke, the Aunties would sell it. It was a point of contention for my Dad.

My buddy

When Leo was born, my Dad decided he liked him. My Dad kept an eye on the colt as he grew up, and would occasionally go feed him an extra flake of hay, just to say hi. As yearlings, all of our colts were put in this field called the Century Plant Field. They were put there to ‘make them into horses’. This field has rocks, cows, wild animals, mud, streams, hills, basically a great place to learn how to be a worldly horse. And that is where I met Leo for the first time.

He was a pretty big horse.

It was a grey winter day, and I remember I got to spend the day with my Dad for some reason. As a treat, my Dad took me out to meet Leo. As we drove the hay truck out into the field, Dad told me to stay in the truck until he opened a bale of hay because Leo didn’t know me yet and I would scare him. I remember thinking that was absolutely ridiculous because every horse that I had ever met in my short life just loved me! I was the official ear scratcher and treat giver on the ranch.

Even the bottle calves had the crap scared out of them by Leo.

My Dad parked the hay truck and the colts came trotting over. I couldn’t stand it and popped out of the cab and into the back of the truck with my Dad, causing a lot of snorting and shying away of the colts. My Dad was right, they didn’t like me. But he opened up the hay bale and started tossing flakes out and they came back over again. Leo even allowed my Dad to scratch his ears and rub his neck.

It was a big deal for me to ride Leo when I was little. I mean Leo was MY DAD’S HORSE and very powerful and fast. This is Leo telling me I’m not doing it right – he was really good at that.

Since my Dad knew he was going to keep Leo, Leo got sent to an actual horse trainer, instead of being started here. The trainer fell in love with him too. She even entered him in a few horse shows before she would give him back, and he did really well. Once Leo got trained and people were normal to him, he turned into a big love-bug.

As Leo got older he was perfect for evening rides with my friends.

Leo and I became good friends as well. He liked to be loved on and given treats and that was totally my thing! I found out that if you sat on the top of the fence (which I wasn’t supposed to do), he would come over and put his head in my lap for pets! To a five year old, that is pretty much zen.

I taught ex-boyfriends who wanted to be cowboys how to ride on him

Leo was my Dad’s horse for the first 10 year’s of his life, they roped, they cut, Leo was the ultimate cow horse. Indeed if a cow or calf started falling behind Leo had no problem reaching over and biting that cow. Even out in a field, if a cow got too close to Leo, he would bite or kick. Leo took his cow-horse job very seriously.

He was great for photo sessions! Thanks http://jldphotographblog.com!

My Dad has slowly become the bionic man (ranching is tough work, kids), and riding is no longer comfortable for him, so Leo slowly become a guest horse. He was the type of horse you could let a greenhorn ride and they would generally be ok. Leo’s only vice was if he knew you would let him get away with something, he would. But once you became friends with Leo he would be your pal and take good care of you.

Or a quick ride….

Leo had some accidents during his lifetime, his hoof almost got cut off when he got stuck in some wire. He had pigeon fever really bad,  he gained a lot of weight really fast in the spring, always causing us to panic. And an accident involving a nail and his chest – some ugly stuff. But he made it through and soldiered on for 30 years.

Daniel and Leo spent a lot of time together this spring. Leo loved the attention.

Leo died today. My Mom came and got me this morning because Leo was in distress and couldn’t get up. He went very quickly after we both said goodbye. He seemed to have waited until we were all able to acknowledge he was going. We had a scare with him last winter. That’s why we knew we needed to get Joe a friend, so Sue got adopted. We knew Leo didn’t feel good yesterday. But it really seemed as if this morning he wanted to be with us as he went. What a honor, but that was the type of horse he was. He thought of his people and his pasture friend before himself.

Leo is the last of a golden era on this ranch and for this family. As I look through pictures of this family dating all the way back to the 1800’s our horses have always been very prominent and proud. Leo is the last horse from that era that was bred, born and died here. Thank you Leo. Thank you.

I gave Leo lots of extra treats this summer. Including a bunch of peaches, he loved peaches!

We were very lucky to have Leo in our lives for the past 30 years. I have so many wonderful memories of him and my family. Right now it feels a bit like we have lost a family member. Thank you Leo, you will be missed very much.

*So my Dad says.

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