Appaloosa Journal

DEC 2018

Appaloosa Journal is the official publication of the Appaloosa Horse Club, the international registry for the Appaloosa horse.

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78 Appaloosa Journal December 2018 out & about Palouse Submitted by Julie Cudahy W e all have that moment, that special something that comes out of nowhere grabbing your attention from whatever you were doing, or planning to do. My moment presented itself on a grey and foggy morning at a little park near our country home in Oregon. My husband and I had decided to take our dogs for a hike that day, and explore the deeply wooded trails for the first time. Upon arriving, we couldn't find a place to park but eventually found room in the Horse Trailer Parking area. We got the dogs out, adjusting har- nesses and securing leashes when I felt something. As I looked toward the trailhead, there she was: A rider on horseback in the fog, her horse's breath making little clouds in the early morning air. And I knew. I hadn't thought about owning a horse again. I had been rid- ing since I was an 8 year old, and hadn't been fortunate enough to have my own horse until I was nearly 19. Then, several years later there was my first Appaloosa, a handsome 4-year-old chestnut gelding with snowflake-covered hips named P.J. I used to ride him in an old apple orchard under the moon bareback in my flannel nightgown. On this day, this morning when a stranger came riding out of the fog my life changed. I needed a horse. And I began to search. I traveled regularly, covering Washington, Idaho, Cali- fornia and Oregon. After a year of driving thousands of miles looking at anything with spots, a gal that I had met along the way sent me a video of a yearling. I had been looking for slightly older geldings, but she was quite fond of the sire, and thought it might be a good prospect. As I watched the video, I was im- pressed with what his owner had accomplished. We chatted and arranged to meet at a horse park in Washington since she lived 7 hours away. Another potential buyer was interested in the horse, but I hoped for the best. I will always remember that morning as I drove into the park. As I bumped along the long gravel drive in my pickup I spotted him in a pen, gray in the distance. His striking black spots could be seen as he whirled and spun in the sunlight. I watched him go through a trail class in hand with his owner, carefully plac- ing his feet among the boulders, crossing bridges with curiosity and confidence, and approaching each challenge with a calm bravado. He beat the other competitors and won the blue rib- bon. As his owner and I walked together back to his pen, she told me the other buyer had wavered. I wrote a check right there on the spot. A few weeks later, I brought him down to a nearby equestrian facility on 120 beautiful acres of groomed trails that mean- dered across streams, fields, and shaded woods. He was too young to ride, but I knew how to hike with dogs, so we took walks together. I chose the name Palouse, after the rich his- tory of the Appaloosa. I had finally found a purpose that really meant something, and I was loving every minute. We walked ev- erywhere together. When he and I made our way to the woods I learned how to long-line him. We picked blackberries. I taught him how to pull me up hillsides while I hung onto his tail. Some- times he led me, sometimes I led him, and often times we would walk side by side with my grateful arm draped loosely over his withers. We crossed little bridges, walked through the streams together, and saw coyotes, deer, snakes, squirrels and hawks along the way. I sent him into a small pond where he could splash and snort and we explored a nearby graveyard at the top of a huge meadow that overlooked the valley below. Each day when I arrived at the barn to see him, I would call his name when I saw him in his stall or paddock, "Palouse!" to which he'd respond with a boisterous whinny. He was accepting me as his own. He would come running in his pasture to greet me and stand patiently next to me as I clumsily put on his halter and lead for another walk in those woods. In bad weather, I would sit on an overturned bucket next to his stall and eat lunch. Our close relationship wasn't without criticism from the more serious members of this show facility, which was home to some very expensive horses in the main barn. We were boarding in a small, cheaper four-stall shack of a barn some distance away, but with close access to the trails and a view of the woods. I was hurt to hear via the typical barn gossip that some people

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