Yesterday was a crisp breezy Sunday morning at Stratton Meadows, near Cheyenne Mountain. I rode Bear for the first time – really rode him off property. I bought him two weeks ago, but on this ride it felt like he was finally really with me. I think he felt the same way. Age 10, arrived. Life had been a waiting game but now, he thought, “I am found.”
Bear is a line bred foundation quarter horse gelding. Each word in that sentence is an identity statement. Old Sorrel is the first horse that people in the American West recognized as a “type” – he was not tall, but he was built to last. Rugged, sure footed, even tempered, domesticated to the needs of man. Old Sorrel sired a colt who was to become the documented father of the American Quarter Horse. They named him Wimpy, a humble reference to his stature. As the first horse ever to be registered in the American Quarter Horse registry, Wimpy was the recognized foundation sire of the breed. Bear is his great great great grandson.
That fact explains why Bear is referred to as a foundation quarter horse. But that’s not all, as the hucksters are fond of doubling down. Bear’s daddy can trace his lineage straight to Wimpy, but so can his mother. In fact, the stud who sired him has the very same sire as Bear’s dam. That is called “line bred” – some would say in-bred. Whatever the name put to it, he is pure bred. Every drop of his blood echos Old Sorrel.
Last in the string of descriptors comes the term gelding. This is a rather important distinction for Bear, because most colts are gelded when young, robbed of the masculine capacity to breed mares and the temperament that goes with it. Bear, however, had a chance to pass on his stout good looks. There are three horses about six years of age who can call Bear Dad. He was a stallion until he was four years old. Something happened, unknown to me, that caused his owner to decide that breeding was not the business for her. Wimpy’s Whisperin Gold (that is his registered name) was gelded, broke to ride.
His previous owners called him Boogie. I promptly tried to think of a different name because that name reminded me of a rocking kind of music or something someone might pull out of their nose. He is as calm as a summer morning and cuddly as a teddy bear. I tried a lot of names but Bear was the one that seemed to fit him best. So Bear he is and he is mine. His pictures today are with two weeks of steady free feeding grass 24/7. He was a hungry boy. His ribs are starting to disappear. Julia is riding him every day and so he will soon begin to fill out with fit muscles. His winter dull coat is flying into the air at an amazing rate. I comb about a horse and a half off of him every time I see him. Soon he will be the dashing little son of a son of the sons of the first quarter horse in the breed. I like him a lot.