We never knew the real history behind the dark bay gelding. The people who asked to pasture him with Poncho only knew that him was older, gentle, and gaited. They knew next to nothing about horses-dangerously so. They rarely even came to see him.
Gradually, George became a part of our lives. When they decided to sell him, we knew Poncho wouldn’t tolerate being left alone in the pasture, so my folks bought him. It was the simpler solution and really just a formality. We were feeding and riding him anyway. We just took over the farrier and vet work.
My sis rode George which was a good thing since Poncho hated her. Seriously hated her. He’d bite, kick, or run away with her every chance he got. Just didn’t like her. It never got any better. We never figured out why. Friend of mine said he was a good judge of character. Maybe so, maybe not. But that’s the way it was.
George, on the other hand, was a sweetheart. He carried the scars of spring and chains on the front legs. His tongue and gums were scarred, too, from harsh bits and heavy hands. Poor horse had a mouth like iron as a result. There were whip scars, too. By the time he died, he had some monster arthritis in his hocks, stifles, and back. But he was always unfailingly willing to try for you-all you had to do was ask.
We put him into a hackamore since his mouth was so bad and he did well. Instead of the heavy parade saddle or the saddle seat saddle, we choose a simple western pleasure saddle for him. Once he realized the pain was over, he bloomed.
Best we could come up with, he was used as probably a five gaited horse but didn’t show that well. Subsequent owners tried to make him into purely a racking horse and he wasn’t that either. It wasn’t until he reached us and became a pleasure-trail horse that he found his niche.
George lived, we think, until he was 35. We were still riding him gently every other day-he insisted on it. He wouldn’t eat if he wasn’t. We missed him.