Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Larrys Silver Lady

Since I posted about Colton yesterday, I wanted to elaborate a bit on his amazing dam, Larrys Silver Lady.

She was an amazing mare that I had stumbled across in an auction in southern Arizona in 2004. When I found her she was so lame she could hardly walk, yet an overweight man rode her through the sale. Although she was clearly in pain, she did everything he asked of her. She was the last horse in the auction and not easy on the eyes, plus her excessively wormy appearance made her long head look even longer, which she held high to try to counteract the pain in her front feet. I thought to myself this poor old horse...and started walking out of the sale barn. See, I had only gone to watch--had not even brought my trailer, so I hadn't gone with the intention of getting anything. As I turned to leave, though, I heard something that stopped me in my tracks: "She's a daughter of Dirty Larry, by Sonny Dee Bar...." That made me think twice about this poor old crippled up horse! I immediately sat back down to watch what I was sure would be a ferver of bidding.

I was wrong, though... No bids came. She got down to $50 and I could no longer control myself. I raised my hand and hoped the bidding would end soon--she was in so much pain and he kept riding her hard. The auctioneer pushed and pushed and I had the final bid at $300. She was mine. I had to go home and get my trailer, but once I saw the poor old gal unsaddled I knew I had not made a mistake. She was old and broken down, but she was something special.

I didn't know what they had called her, but I just couldn't stand to call her Lady. She wasn't pretty, she wasn't graceful and she could fart longer than any other horse I've ever known...she was no lady!!! As a joke, I called her "Larry" and it stuck. She was my Larry and I fell in love with her.

I got her home and immediately called my farrier--he came out the next day and scolded me. He told me she had severe navicular and should be put down, but I wasn't ready to give up on her that easily. He reset her eggbar shoes as best he could which provided a bit of pain relief, and I started my research. After several hours online I found that there was a vet nearby that specialized in "natural hoof trims" and read that the technique was often successful in treating navicular. I called Dr Tesky and he came out a couple of days later. He pulled her shoes and spent a good hour trimming her front feet, filing and refiling and when he was done we saw some improvement immediately. I was told to give her a plain diet and to walk her for 15 minutes a day on soft grass (luckily we had an irrigated front yard with a nice lawn). I walked her every day religiously and we continued with the natural hoof trims. They worked!! By the time we moved to Kansas in spring of 2005 she was sound, save for a bit of arthritis that came and went. My "Larry" was ready to be bred!

So we moved to Kansas and I found a beautiful 60 acre pasture to lease, fenced it off and let the horses loose. I decided to let Eddie pasture breed Larry. My research had found she had not had a live foal in 10 years, and since she was old, it was going to be difficult to get her in foal. What I didn't count on was Larry had been in the dessert all her life and was not used to pasture. She dropped weight fast and hard and I immediately took her to the vet in Great Bend. We got her teeth done and set her on a regiment of B12 shots. I had her vet checked as well and the vet said she was not in foal, which was not surprising. I brought her home to get her weight up and turned her back out late that summer and she held her weight well. I kept waiting for her to come back into heat (we decided when she showed in heat we'd ultrasound her and flush her to make sure everything was ok). Well, she never did, so I chalked it up to her being older and out of sync and brought her in for the winter with the others. Larry never had a problem keeping weight after that. During the winter I wondered--could the vet had been wrong when he said she wasn't in foal? It was so unlikely she had been--she had dropped weight so quickly surely her body would have protected itself by aborting any embryo she was carrying at the time? Well, I went ahead and had her checked again and it was true--she WAS in foal! I was thrilled!! I kept a close eye on her but she held her weight all through the pregnancy--even seemed to be glowing. On June 18, 2006 Paula (Filthy N Fabulous), a gray overo filly, was born. She was huge and we immediately fell in love with her! Soon we rebred Larry and sent everyone back out to pasture. Larry easily stayed in good health the entire summer.

In May 2007 Colton was born--a sorrel overo colt with markings just like his daddy. He had a gorgeous neck and was also very friendly like his sister. We did have a problem with dehydration one day--it got so hot and he had the runs, but we brought him and Larry into the barn, got fluids in him and he was right as rain! At that time I decided to move to Texas and brought Larry and her progeny with me. Colton was a hit and everytime someone found out that I had a daughter of Dirty Larry I got offers to breed her to some of the nicest studs for HUS foals. Everyone adored Larry, and I'd take her out on trail rides with my co-worker often.

When I had to leave Texas I needed to find a good home for Larry. I wanted to try to keep her safe so I would only lease her out. I made the biggest mistake of my life leasing her to Cecilia Jarvis. Larry died at her parent's place sometime in early September. She didn't tell me until I called her on September 20th. I will never, ever forgive myself for letting her load Larry up in her trailer. I was completely duped. Thank God I was able to save Paula from the same fate. I rushed down and picked up the skeleton that used to be Larry's beautiful daughter.

Now my memories of Larry are bittersweet. Yes, she was old, but every person who saw her has told me she was healthier than most mares half her age. She truly left us way too soon.

You can see her pedigree here. She was daughter of World Champion Western Riding horse and Top HUS stallion Dirty Larry, by Hall of Famer Sonny Dee Bar. Her dam was a daughter of AQHA Champion Jaybo Lad. Larry had 2 foals prior to me purchasing her. One earned APHA halter points before passing away at 3 years of age. Her AQHA filly went on to win many open shows and retire as a broodmare out on Angelica Houston's niece's ranch out in California. I heard she had passed away a couple of years ago.

Now only Colton and Paula are left to carry on this wonderful mare's legacy. Paula looks so much like her momma, it's eerie at times. She has her same quiet demeanor as well. Colton is a promising barrel prospect who is dearly loved by his owner. I have a feeling Larry is very proud of her babies, and deservingly so.....

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