Vinny

I’m writing this because there’s somebody that needs to read this.

There’s somebody who has a horse like this in their pasture and is doubting themselves like I did.

I wasn’t supposed to own him. I actually went to look at another horse, a 2 yo, that was bred better, but turned out not to strike my fancy in person. And as we were getting ready to leave, the owner confessed she was going thru a divorce and just needed to move some horses. Was there anything else I was interested in? So we took one more lap around her place, and this leggy weanling darted our from behind his mama and caught my eye. I wanted something I could get under saddle now, he wasn’t bred that great, and at the $2,500 asking price I decided to pass. Long story short, she wouldn’t let me pass, and her soon to be ex husband and mine locked arms under this baby and lifted him into our trailer and we were off.

I wrote the check for $600, and it wasn’t even my check. You see, I’ve got a mom who believes in me more than she should. She’s not rich, but she insists on funding my colts whenever she can. So she’s the real hero here. 

We drove the 6 hours home, and unloaded the waspy colt into our safest pasture. Within an hour the irrigation came on, hit his butt, scared him to death and he tried jumping over a 5ft wood rail fence. He didn’t make it. Instead he completely filleted the point of his shoulder down to the bone. It was gruesome. I told my vet what I had just paid for this colt, and insisted that if he didn’t think he’d be sound after this wreck, or if my bill was going to be more than what I’d just paid for him I’d be ok to just put him down.

We stitched him up and hoped for the best. The stitches didn’t hold, and to this day there’s a big scar, and nerve damage that sweats every time he gets warm.

Fast forward a couple years, and I’ve got a 15.3 hand, narrow as a piece of paper, two year old that is covered from head to tail in the worst case of sarcoids you can imagine. So many, and in such inconvenient places (like next to his eye, groin, cinch, etc..) that I again considered just putting him down. I gutted out about 5 rides on him, then turned him out and again hoped for the best. Between herbal supplements and every topical under the sun, by his 4 y.o. year I maybe had 30 rides on him, and if it weren’t for those disgusting sarcoids I would have put him up for sale and cut my losses. It was so bad tho, I was embarrassed to have anyone know about this nasty horse we hid in the back. He was tall, uncoordinated, insanely ugly, but sweet as pie and there was something about the way he moved that just felt right to me.

He never made it to a single futurity or derby. I should also mention that he was scared of his own shadow, and stuffed me in the dirt on two occasions when he spooked, broke in two, and sent my unexpecting self to the moon. And both times I couldn’t get mad, because he didn’t mean to do it. If you know Vinny, you’d understand. 

His second trip in a trailer came at the very end of his 4 y.o. year, and there were still a few stubborn sarcoids we couldn’t kick. He was ok on the barrels. Nothing you would have come to the fence to watch, just ok. I had other horses I liked better, so Vinny just sort of came along at his own pace and I honestly never expected much, but he did start to grow on me. He had try. He had a spark that I just can’t put words to. So he stayed. I never tried to sell him. 

Fast forward a couple more years, and he started coming into his own. He was still ugly. Mousy brown, big ugly head, and pig eyed. Doesn’t muscle up like the rest. He’s the last horse in my barn you’d think was a winner, but he was always the last one I rode. For me, you always save your favorite for last because they make the other ones feel like less. There was just something about him I loved. I finally gave in to it and decided to believe in him.

He’s 9 now. A few months back I entered an open rodeo. He won it by 3 tenths. It was the same weekend my dog got kicked in the head and died. I think he knew my heart needed that win. I don’t care if you think I’m crazy, I think he knew.

This weekend I entered my hometown rodeo. It’s a PRCA rodeo and there was $7,500 added. It’s the first pro rodeo I’ve entered in a decade, and Vinny’s first pro rodeo ever. I had zero expectation. Guess what he did. He won it. Well tied for the win, but I’m going to say he won it and a check for nearly $3,000. 

I’ve owned beautiful, well bred, expensive horses that should have been winners. I’ve thrown more money than I care to admit at horses that didn’t deserve it. Horses that didn’t have heart. 

Last night when I got the news about our win, I went out and told my big, ugly Vinny thank you. Because my once-in- a- lifetime, million dollars to me horse , doesn’t know we only paid $600 for him, and I’ll never tell him. 

~Jess

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