Opinion – 4/18/2003

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 18, 2003

The Panolian Editorial

For additional opinions and articles,
pick up the 4/18/03  issue of The Panolian

A Horse of a Different Color

I didn’t laugh. Not much, anyway.

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After all, where does an Arkansan get off making a Mississippi joke?

That’s what happened earlier this week when I was visiting some of my newspaper buddies in West Memphis and proudly showing off photos of my new horse.

"Well, you move to Mississippi and you just have to get livestock," said a smiling fella there. He was really proud of his humor … or attempt at same.

Hey, I had livestock in Texas, too, and nobody made a joke about me having a horse there.

Yes, I once again have a horse after selling the one I left behind in Texas.

I’m happy about it, too. I’ve always loved horses and have had one at most times in my life.

But this one is different. It’s my first gaited horse.

I don’t know all the lingo about gaits and shoes and head sets and bits, etc., but I’m smart enough to know that a running walk is a lot smoother than a quarter horse trot.

The first gaited horses I ever rode were Tennessee walkers owned by some friends, Dwight and Bobbie Smith, in North Carolina who introduced me to the world of bird dog field trials.

Of their horses, my favorite was Eli. A big red roan with a bald face.

Eli. An interesting horse name. So, I asked Dwight how he came up with it.

Easy, he said. He just names all of his horses for whomever he buys them from. Joe, Sam, Bo, Eli. You get it.

So, for my horse. I employed the same method. His name is J.J.

As a little girl I used to color horses like I thought they should look. Black with white up high on all four feet and white on their faces. I’d never seen one like that, but in my child’s imagination, that was the ideal.

… You guessed it. That’s how J.J. looks with some white on a hip and across his withers.

As far as my quarter horse Skeet is concerned, I’m happy to say he has a good home in Texas.

Seems the little boy in the family who bought him has taken up with him and renamed him – Tarzan. They spend time each afternoon trotting around the barrels.

His mom told me he’s never cared for horses as much as the other children have and rode very little.

Until now.

That makes me smile.

(Kate Dickson can be reached by email at: editor@panolian.com)