I wanted to post a collection of photos of my horse Rudy through the years, just to remember him by. He was the best horse in the world. I remember in high school I entered a writing contest and the title of my essay was “The Best Horse in the World”…I don’t remember everything I wrote, but I remember how I felt about Rudy, and the time we spent growing up together are some of the happiest moments of my life.
This was taken in 1994, when Rudy was just six years old and I was about sixteen. The bay horse is Monte, ridden by my sister Kellie, and we were heading out to do a day’s cattle work. I am using my oldest sister Kandra’s saddle here, so this was before I had a saddle of my own. I love how long Rudy’s tail is in this photo…he always had thin hair and his mane and tail never grew very long. This was the longest I ever remember seeing it.
This was taken in 1996 on a cattle drive to summer grazing when we lived in Nebraska. I think we were renting pasture from the Fox family, near Brewster, and were driving cows there one spring day. I’ve got a pretty badly sunburned face, I’m opening a Dr. Pepper, and Rudy is wearing my new saddle and saddle pad I got for Christmas. What I can’t figure out is why I’m using a bosal on his head…Rudy was usually inclined to run, and this bosal does not have much stopping power. He must have been ridden down well enough that I wasn’t scared, or else I was just taking my life in my hands that day.
This is one of our fun rides, when a group of my college friends were visiting the ranch in Nebraska. It was sometime in August, 1999. I’m riding Rudy bareback with flip flops on, and my friend Marilynn was riding double behind me. That’s my little sister Karmen on the right, with a long braid down her back, riding Frosty, followed by our dog Pedro. Then on the left is my friend Charmaine riding Possum. We had so much fun that day!
I took this photo on May 25, 2007 in Idaho when we were helping Dad and Mom with their cattle drive to the mountain grazing area. They had a college kid helping them that summer, and he took a liking to Rudy and was using him on the drive. This might be one of the last times Rudy was used on a cattle drive. He would have been nineteen years old, and starting to show some stiffness in his knees.
November 22, 2007
This was taken the same day as the photo above.
November 24, 2007
I took this photo May 23, 2008. Rudy was sleeping in the sun and I sneaked up to take this picture.
This was taken the same day, when my daughter Madie went over to pet him and he woke up.
This is Madie hugging Rudy.
And a little later that day, Madie riding Rudy.
December 22, 2008–we took the kids for a quick ride in the snow. My nephew Peyton is in front, with Madie riding behind.
October 3, 2009
This was October 6, 2009, and my dad and I were riding through sagebrush looking for some missing heifers. We rode several miles that day, and Rudy was as amazing as ever. I’m so glad I got the chance to go back and ride him even though we lived more than a thousand miles away from the ranch at this time.
October 9, 2009
This might be one of the last times I rode Rudy. I was helping sort a bull out of the herd and drive it up to Dad and Mom’s corrals. May 28, 2010.
Rudy in Idaho, May 29, 2010.
This photo was taken August 17th, 2012, in Idaho at my parents’ ranch. We threw Dad and Mom a 50th Anniversary party in their yard, and while the festivities were dying down, I walked out in my dress and sandals to say “hi” to Rudy, since we were leaving for home first thing in the morning. He greeted me with his usual sniffing my hands to see if I had any treats, and then ignored me after finding I had none. But I set up my little camera on a nearby irrigation wheel, and set it to auto-take and got this picture of me and my favorite old horse.
I’m so glad I have these pictures to remember him now that he’s gone.