Monday, June 22, 2015

Pepper

Pepper being hugged by Tank and fed by The Man

Pepper taking Tank for a walk
(although he says it was the other way around)
 Pepper, our beloved horse died today.

Pepper knew she was a horse, but was very gregarious. She loved being around us. She thought she could walk right in to wherever we were, including our house (if we let her, we kids did, but were careful not to let Mum see). She was always very gentle, and yet she was feisty too. She knew full well that she was the queen of the horses we owned. She was the boss horse, but a graceful elegant one at that.

She was the last of Grandma's hand reared horses, trained to both saddle and harness.

As a saddle horse she was good, but as a harness horse she had no equal!

She pulled our little sulky on a four week adventure from Sydney over the Barrington Tops mountains to Inverell. Our route was well over 700km. We even made the Tamworth newspaper and had a small spot in the local Win News.

That was quite an adventure! But she was such a good horse that we didn't have to hobble her at night, she stayed near our camp (and her horse friend Sam) and happily munched away.

Recreating my Mother's five kids on a horse photo.
As kids, when we lived in the western suburbs of Sydney, we had so much fun with her. Who else at our school could say they lived on an average 1/4 acre block and had a horse!? We would agist her down next to the Great Western Highway. We would ride her up in the George Street bush in Mount Druitt, which is where I finally got the courage to go against the dogs and chased a nasty dog that was scaring her all the way back to it's home.

Pepper walking inside...again.
Like all horses, she could occasionally get a bit flighty, but I distinctly remember driving with Mum down Pennant Hills Road in Sydney and so long as we kept singing she wouldn't flinch at the huge semi-trailers zooming past (it was highway status even at that time).

The singing was one of Grandma's great tricks with all her horses. It would distract them from whatever they were worried about and they would listen to the song. Grandma used to sing all sorts of hymns to her horses. We did too.

Travelling with horses can be a bit touchy. But not with Pepper. So long as she knew we were going she was happy. My favourite floating memory was the time we took Pepper in the double decker bus that my folks used for ministry in the Presbyterian Church in NSW. We drove up the highway to the central coast. Pepper standing next to one of the downstairs windows. It was so funny to watch the kids in the passing cars looking so bored by the trip (no DVD players in cars back then) and suddenly seeing Pepper and yelling and screaming to their parents about the horse in the bus!

We thank God for the wonderful memories we all have of Pepper. All my children have precious memories of her, and my childhood memories of her are unsurpassed.
Riding Pepper and Sunshine at Geebung Flat
(that's a young Tiger on board too)