Almost 50 years ago, I remember playing in my grandparent’s yard in the southwest corner of Carter County, Montana. There were big evergreens and a shady porch and on that warm day, a pretty red headed lady with three girls, (Sally, Johnna, and Virginia) and a baby boy, (Jesse) roll up to the ranch in a jeep. One of the girls is on crutches, which I found fascinating and they were just like me, ranch kids and we began tearing around the yard and playing and the pretty lady, I learned her name was Bobbi, and my grandfather went to look at horses.
This was not a strange phenomenon. We were used to people being at the ranch to peruse the livestock. My grandfather and Bobbi were connected spirits in the world of the Morgan horse.
My Grandfather’s heart horse, before such a thing was discussed, was a horse named Shawalla Major. A Hershey colored stallion that my parents went to Washington on their honeymoon to retrieve. The story goes they returned to the ranch pulling a modified U Haul bumper pull. That horse had an impact on the breed and on several generations of horsemen and women.
Bobbi had a heart horse as well. Her stallion “Smokey” was a game changer for the breed and he certainly left his mark on an industry and the people he encountered. He made his debut in Canada and showed the world what a Morgan horse could accomplish if one would let the notion out of the box. I am honored to have been able to share the story of one of the greats.
After my grandfather passed away in 1976, my dad continued with the Morgan horse program, but we eventually did graduate to more Quarter Horse genetics. We never lost track of the bond we shared with the people and horses of Eastern Montana. Morgans had a lasting influence on me and what I expect from a horse. If I had to sum up our horses in one word, it would be “gritty”. They were tough, solid, tenacious, kind, enduring and cowy. They had good minds, good feet, great dispositions and attitudes. They were treasured for their qualities.
The Blankenship family and our family have maintained a relationship over years and generations and what a blessing those relationships have been. We have shared the horses as a common thread, but perhaps the bond of agriculture as a whole, the belief in striving to be good, solid, hard working, salt of the earth folks and we share that with a multitude in the Western states.
Ranches have come and gone for both our families, we have lost Patriarchs and family members along the way, but the arrow style flies. The embers of fires across the years still burn for exceptional livestock, the legacy of breeding programs, the integrity of the horse and families who raise them.
Bobbi has passed on her passion to her children. I look for this legacy to impact the Morgan breed for many years to come. Thank you for sharing with all of us.
Please go to www.truewestmorgans.com to keep up with Bobbi’s program, see photos of past champions, current beauties and future rock stars. Be a too.
Editors Note : Nelseena Lehmann is the host of our radio programs, Horseman’s Corner and Cattleman’s Corner, which air on several radio stations throughout the true midwest. Visit www.HorsemansCorner.com or www.CattlemansCorner.com for more, including archived programs. You may contact Nelseena at email@example.com