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Doc, Born a Wagon Horse


12/12/09, Perryville, MO - Once in a lifetime, a person might own a truly great horse. So far, Ive been twice blessed. My old Appaloosa was one, Doc is the other. No matter what is asked of him, he always delivers.  In his current role as a horse pulling a wagon across the country, he excels like no other.

Denise and I took the day off as guests of the Stortz family.  The horses had overcome some challenging obstacles during the past four days, and were ready for a rest.  We also used the time to give the Stortz family, friends and neighbors time to meet the team.

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When interacting with the kids, I usually choose Doc.  He likes kids, is careful around them, and will do whatever I ask of him.  If I was unharnessing him, he would think nothing of knocking me down with his big bony head; however, around kids and special needs adults he is very gentle and kind. Today, he put smiles on a few faces and generated some good memories, thus fulfilling a key role in my journey throughout America.

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If a young person is not very comfortable riding, I often walk with them, actually controlling Doc with my presence and voice.

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For special needs people that want to ride, but have balance issues, I can climb up behind and help hold the rider while directing him. Doc is very careful to not make any sudden moves.

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Of course, hes always ready for a kiss.

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Or, a nice rub on the nose!

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In the pull, Doc has the heart of a lion.  Even when paired with a strong-willed horse like Bill, hes the first to step off and lean into his collar.  Hes the last to quit on a long hill and will always start again whenever I ask him.  I dont remember the last time I actually had to do anything like give him a slap with the driving lines. Even after all of his injuries from the accident, hes the strongest horse I have in the pull.

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Faced with difficult situations like semi-trucks passing only a foot or two away, I would always prefer to have Doc next to the traffic - hes steady as a rock.

Yeah, good horses can be scarcer then three dollar bills!