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The Quarter Horse That Could


By Betty Haser

Rocky was a special kind of Quarter Horse – one who knew what he liked and did it enthusiastically. Our relationship with Rocky began 22 years ago in a most unexpected manner.

As a Graduate B Pony Clubber myself, I was thrilled when my daughter Natalie developed an interest in horses and joined the U.S. Pony Club, gradually working her way up the ranks. Her riding was improving, but we found that Natalie’s horse was not quite the jumper that she needed, nor what we hoped it to be. So we began a search for a more talented horse to tackle the higher fences. This was back in 1992.

 At that time, our neighbor in Cordova had purchased a 4-year-old liver chestnut Quarter Horse gelding, named Rocky, to use for Western Pleasure.  But he just would not slow down enough for her to be successful in the show ring.  He was also rather adventuresome and gregarious. So much so that he would jump into all the neighboring pastures to frolic with other horses, clearing board fences with ease. 

I witnessed this one day in awe as Rocky jumped into our pasture!

Natalie always said, “I prayed for a horse and he jumped into my back yard.” Our neighbor, disappointed in her Western Pleasure horse and unable to keep him in her pasture, said, “I’m selling that horse.”

So Natalie and I tried him out. We put an English saddle on him, set up some cross rails, and he went at them like he had been jumping his whole life. His future with us was sealed! I called the neighbor and said we’d buy him. Our neighbor said, “He’s yours.”

 From the start, it was obvious that Rocky loved to jump – he was a natural.  With the help of trainer Dave Pellegrini, Natalie went to work with Rocky, teaching him how to properly jump fences and doing the essential ground work.  Eventually, we took him to Pony Club rallies, horse shows, and three-day events. He excelled at all of them, like a trooper.

When Natalie went off to college, other Pony Clubbers, such as Allison Clark Pitkin, Lauren Martin, Brynne Allen, and Jackie Gaston, got to ride Rocky. They won ribbons with him and felt the joy of his spring and speed!

Then it was my turn to get Rocky. I fox hunted Rocky for 18 years, riding over hill and dale with never a misstep or a refusal.  Never one to be left behind, he was always at the front ready for the next ditch or coop. 

Rocky was steady, scopey, and athletic.  All loved him! What a treasure I was blessed with! 

A few weeks ago, Rocky died suddenly of colic at age 26.  I had owned him for 22 memorable years. Happy Trails Rocky!

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