balding, and sunburnt from the intense Texas beams in July. At first it was the foal at her side that caught my eye – a handsome little sorrel and white colt that we would later nickname Joey. It was through that perfect little “boy” that I got a glimpse of what his dam must have looked like in her younger years.
We had gone to a nearby ranch to look at a black and white mare and her 3 month old foal that were for sale. (This was going to be our first foal and we thought it best to start with one on the ground!) The mare we went to see was stunning and her little filly was equally beautiful.
Going home with them was a no-brainer.
The black and white pair was pasturing with Joey and his dam. We stood watching the four of them for quite some time, enjoying the babies’ attempts to hide from our view behind their moms. It was at this point that I made eye contact with “Bobbie” - the pitiful looking, sunburnt, bald mare with the cute son. She had big brown kind eyes with a hint of sadness in them. All of a sudden, I heard myself asking if the sorrel and white pair was also for sale. Much to my husband’s surprise, I had decided that she needed us. She was well bred and well
fed but that was a working ranch and there was no pampering going on there. Bobbie was in dire need of some TLC and I knew we could offer that to her.
It turned out that she had been quite the promising roping horse but when she was just three years old she hurt her left hip in a barrel racing
accident. Since then, she had been a proven brood mare to the rancher we negotiated with. She went home with us, along with Joey, Babe and Dani. (There has not been one person that’s come to our ranch since that hasn’t openly or privately wondered what we were thinking when we bought her!) We like to say we rescued her that day but it’s accurate and honest to admit that we got more out of caring for her than we could have ever returned. We fell in love with her immediately
upon getting her home and vowed to each other, and to her, that we would never sell her – she was part of our family.
Bobbie was our “middle child” – you know the one - that child that never demands anything and sometimes gets overlooked at treat time -
Or the one that appreciates every bit of attention she is afforded but doesn’t make you feel guilty if you’re in a hurry. She never pushed us around or even came close to stepping on our toes. She was respectful and kind. In the horse world, she was the same. She never provoked any herd members. If one of the others wanted to feel important and toss their mane around like a big shot, she let them. She was, as I like to say about the most accomplished of humans, comfortable in her own skin.
And that skin never was pretty up close, no matter how many miracle cures we tried! I took a photo of her a few years ago that my friend Paige likes to call her “Glamour Shot”. It was taken in the distance with Bobbie standing regally and cropped just far enough away that you couldn’t make out her scars or thinning hair. She was beautiful and it’s the way I started seeing her every time I looked at her.
We held up our end of the pampering bargain by bathing her in sensitive skin medicated shampoo, covering her 1000+ pound body in sunscreen, providing shelter and a fan on those hot Texas days and making sure she got regular pedicures. She paid us back a thousand fold with two more beautiful babies that share her kind spirit.
Bobbie was that parent we should all strive to be – the perfect combination of protectiveness and trust that allow children to grow up feeling loved and confident in their independence. Her children recognized it too. I saw it especially in Rey. Even as an adult horse, she was respectful and protective of her mom.
The last year or two, Bobbie enjoyed her “old mare” status. She learned quickly that once you reach that magic age where your hip bones look a little pointier and your belly droops a little lower, all you have to do is come to the gate and neigh for an extra meal. I could count on her call about five o’clock every day.
We said “good-bye” to sweet, BEAUTIFUL Bobbie last night. She is missed so much already. As my husband said, “home seems a little empty tonight”. But our hearts smile as we imagine her with a thick fur coat and mane, running with no pain to the gate for an extra portion!
We love you, Miss Bobbie. We will forever be grateful that you became part of our family.