TumbleweedI was 9 years old when I first saw him, my friends had bought him. A monster of a horse 18 hh. He’s too big everyone said, you will get hurt on him. Some crazy race horse just off the track.  I knew the moment we met that he would never hurt me, and he never did. I didn’t become the proud owner of Tumbleweed, aka Weed for short, until I was 13. We named him Tumbleweed because out of a 2 acre field, that’s what he wanted to eat.

Everything people said we couldn’t do, we proved them wrong. We did barrel racing, team roping, team pinning. He was the biggest horse out there, so big in team pinning the cows would try to hide under him! Nothing scared that horse. When the other horses spooked out on the trail, Weed and I would walk right by and he would look at them as if saying, “Hey, what’s your problem?” And boy was he fast, coming off the track that horse did not like to be in the back, he won every race someone challenged us to. He was a very proud horse, and I was so very proud of him. Out of 24 races he ran he won 22 of them. He knew he was a fast horse.

Tumbleweed was my best friend. If I was having a bad day I could go find him and he would sit for hours with me till everything was better. After you gave him a treat his tongue would hang to the side as he looked for more. We had a great 15 years together. I lost my first horse, Strawberry, to cancer. Weed was so very upset, that was his girl. I found Booty, a small little missionary donkey to be his friend. What an odd couple. They quickly became the best of friends, never far from each others sight. If it wasn’t for my big guy, we would never know the love of a donkey. A very special thing.

About 2 years ago I finally fully retired Weed, the hardship of racing finally caught up with him. He enjoyed his days in a 2 acre field of grass with his friend Booty. Love and treats every day, I even took him for walks like one does with their dog. Watermelon in the summer, warm apples with a sugar cube in the winter. He knew how much he was loved by me and my entire family.

I was headed to work and running late that morning, my mom said she would feed. I got a phone call right when I got to work from my mom that something was wrong with him. His left rear leg was swollen and he refused to put any weight on it at all. He was fine the night before, running and playing with Booty in the field. I didn’t know why all of a sudden he was hurt. I left work right away, my horse is more important than a job. I called my vet, but she couldn’t come out till later in the evening. So I parked my truck in front of his stall and waited with him. My best friend Sarah came and sat all day with me. Everyone came to check on him, no one knew what was hurting him.

Finally around 5 my vet showed up, she knew right away what was wrong. He had broken several bones in his leg near the hoof. With his arthritis and old age he broke it easily. I started to cry right away as soon as the word broken came from her mouth, I knew what needed to be done. So as we waited for the stock trailer to arrive I gave that horse anything and everything he wanted to eat. Hay, grain, cookies, apples, cheese and crackers, you name it, if he liked it he got it. My heart finally shattered when I saw that trailer pull up. I loved on him, kissed him, hugged him, told him how proud he had made me. I couldn’t watch him be put down. When everything was ready I gave him a final kiss and hug, told him how much he meant to me, and said goodbye. My mom stayed with me up on the hill, as we waited for it all to be over. I know I left him in the best hands possible, everyone came over to help.

I cried like I never had before up on that hill, my mom and Sarah hugging me the entire time. Grant came up to say it was finally all over and done. I know I did the best thing for him, but it was so hard. Some of my happiest times were on the back of that horse. We made one hell of a team, champions till the end.

Tumbleweed, it was a hell of a ride, buddy. We kicked butt, and proved everyone wrong who said you were too tall to be a rodeo horse. No one can ever replace you. I think of you every day but I know you and I will meet again when the time is right. Take care of Strawberry, I am sure she is glad to see you, and don’t worry about Booty, we have each other. I have a piece of your hair, and your best color blue, and a picture of you and I in a picture frame that Sarah made for me. It sits right next to my bed so I can tell you goodnight every night. I was very proud you chose me to be your “little girl”. I now own 3 horses & Booty but no one will ever be as great as you.

Tumbleweed – Big Team Pinning, Barrel Racing Horse with an even bigger heart by Sharlee Eagle