Pebbles: Some horses are just Plum Lucky

Published 8:00 am Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Some of us are blessed with more luck than others.

Take me, for example.

My life went from being unappreciated, almost shipping from Texas to slaughter in Mexico, to rising to celebrity status. What other pony do you know that pens her own newspaper column and tests recipes?

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I thank my shining stars.

Is luck the mere toss of a coin that finds us equines loading into the right horse trailer, or the wrong one headed to the border? This is a question I still ponder.

Take our new arrival the 11-hand pinto pony, named PLUM LUCKY. She was given this name based on the story behind her surprise induction into to our rescue, HERD.     

My mistress, Heather, decided to try her hand at auction interception. She made the preparations to raise the funds to bid on a 10-year old quarter horse we call COWBOY.

He was in Bowie, Texas, to be sold with three other quality ranch geldings as “loose lot horses,” meaning their owner did not want to pay the $30 fee to have them ridden in the sale. This normally results in them selling to the meat buyer. 

Heather stayed up late that night, glued to the computer, with a bidder on the phone with her waiting for the desired steed to enter the auction area.

COWBOY was chased into the tiny show ring and the bidding action was fast and furious. Just a rapid jumble of noise.

In a matter of seconds, Heather bid up to $875 to seal-the-deal, beating out the meat buyers who were vying for the big handsome horse.

In excellent weight, dazzling COWBOY sported four white stockings, a striking freeze, hip brand and blaze face. He was marked safe and sold to HERD rescue. With great relief, my mistress signed off the computer for the night.

The next morning, Holly Barrone, who was active at this auction intercepting equines as well, called Heather. She inquired if HERD would be interested in a 13.3-hand black-and-white pinto riding pony she had bid on and won for $400.

A gentle soul, this pony was very nice to ride and had beautiful blue eyes.  Heather replied she would be happy to help and purchase him, as a family had contacted HERD looking to adopt a gentle riding pony for their 11-year-old child.

The auction payment was sent for this pony, which was tag number 143, according to Holly.  The timing was ideal as HERD’s favorite horse transporter, Tim Riffe, was on his way to pick up COWBOY in Bowie, Texas to bring him to HERD. This fancy pony could join the ride with ease in the large trailer.   

Excited about this new addition, Heather sent the prospective family a photo of the fancy black-and white-pony as a promising potential adoption after quarantine. In two days, the pony would arrive to HERD. There was also a local trainer interested in meeting handsome COWBOY, so things were looking bright.

Two days later, Tim notified Heather he was 30 minutes away from arrival. These two steeds were going to stay with a new HERD foster family, Randy and Mary Lynn Conway of Campobello.

The Conway family had owned horses, but their stables and pastures were currently empty. They welcomed HERD to put them to good use.

Mary Lynn also volunteered to do all the daily feeding for the new rescues. 

The trailer stopped just outside the Conway’s gate and off stepped proud COWBOY, recognizing he was finally on “terra firma.” He waited patiently as the pinto pony was untethered and unloaded behind him.

“Wait a minute! Tim, that is not the black-and-white pony I purchased from Holly at the auction. Who is this?” exclaimed Heather.

A scared, small brown-and-white pinto pony looked Heather squarely in the eye, fatigued from the long journey from Texas. She too was happy to be on solid ground.

Heather and Tim led the two equines down to a lovely big field at the Conway’s farm. A few photos of them were taken to document their arrival and the discrepancy in the identity of the new pony who had arrived on this trailer.

Then, both steeds were given their freedom to explore the tempting pasture. COWBOY trotted around with the pony at his side. Both then enjoyed a comforting roll in the lush grass and commenced eating this fresh delicacy.

Heather immediately called Bowie Auction Horses to get an explanation for the wrong pony that had just traveled over 900 miles.

It was a case of inverted numbers. Holly had given Heather the tag number 143, which did match the pony that arrived on the trailer. But the black-and-white riding pony Holly had offered Heather was tag 134.

No way to right the wrong or exchange the ponies now. This tiny new arrival was here to stay. She seemed genuinely excited to see such a lovely new place. 

Oh, and did I mention that once that halter was slipped from her head and returned to Tim for his journey onward, there would be no catching her?

So, what to call this stowaway? She is very lucky to have ended up here instead of going to who knows where.

This 12-year-old, high-step pony was immediately named PLUM LUCKY. Within an hour, she had taken charge of COWBOY, directing where they should graze and retire clearly a pony with a sense of self-worth. Reminds me so much of myself!

I also arrived un-halter broke and impossible to catch. Why PLUM LUCKY must have read my column called “Catch Me If You Can,” covering my arrival into HERD two years ago.     

This newcomer, with her Tina Turner-like mane and plush tail, must surely have been born under a beneficent star. She comes with the heavy baggage of fear or mistrust of humans, which is probably justly deserved.

However, I just know that 2019 is going to be her year. She is Plum Lucky. 


Just like PLUM LUCKY seeing fresh fields of grass, jazz up your salad and give your greens a sweet addition by adding crunchy candied pecans, creamy goat cheese and nutritious California dried plums.

Servings: 4

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon minced shallot

Salt and black pepper, to taste

8 cups mesclun lettuce

3/4 cup (about 4 1/2 ounces) quartered California pitted dried plums

1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese

1/2 cup candied pecans

To make vinaigrette, in a small bowl, whisk together oil, vinegar and shallot; season with salt and pepper.

In a large mixing bowl, toss lettuce with enough vinaigrette to coat lightly.

Divide among 4 salad plates; sprinkle each salad with 3 tablespoons dried plums, 2 tablespoons goat cheese and 2 tablespoons pecans.