CLOUD 9 WALKERS
"Peddlin' The Gold"
4-yr-old Beautiful Palomino Tennessee Walking Horse Mare
*** NATIONAL SUPREME VERSATILITY CHAMPION***
With Bonnie Smith
Assisted by Samantha Boyce, Chris Atchison
Susar Farms April, 2007 Walk/Trot Champions.
October, 2007 Susar Farms Walk/Trot and Trail Champions
This is my favorite picture of this beautiful mare -- She loves to jump!
Susar Farms high point winners -- doesn't she stand out?
LEFT: All natural, always lite shod or barefoot. RIGHT: Trying to disguise herself as a tack rack!
*** STATE FAIR OF TEXAS***
GRAND CHAMPION YEARLING FILLY
Dallas, Texas (Sept 15 - 18, 2005)
*** SWHBA Reserve High Point Yearling 2005 ***
Exceptional PalominoTennessee Walking Horse Filly and Future National Supreme Versatility Champion
Now owned and trained by Bonnie Smith, owner and trainer of several National Supreme and Superior Tennessee Walking Horses
(with my favorite being "Jet Star's Delight")
In Memory of JSD: 2/28/69 - 9/1/98 (click on his picture for more info)
"Peddlin' The Gold"
This is what she looked like when Bonnie selected her for purchase:
Left: Goldie at 2 weeks of age with her dam, "Black Gold's Cinnabar".
RIGHT: Goldie at liberty, 6 months of age, showing her incredible HUGE natural back end.
Goldie at her first Tennessee Walking Horse show in Tulsa, Oklahoma, winning 5th place out of 18 horses (and most were adult horses). An awesome beginning, but you can see in the picture above that her big backend would catch any judge's attention!
Stay tuned for more pictures and updates as Goldie progresses toward her National Supreme Versatility Championship!
(ABOVE) Goldie's first saddle lesson . . .
and (BELOW) a couple of months later, here she is in junior high school (only gonna get better!):
Bonnie Smith, astride, on 4/13/06
(I am so thrilled that Goldie is being trained by Bonnie, who trains her horses naturally, gently and barefoot!!!)
Check out that all natural barefoot long stride!
3 years old and carrying the US flag for opening ceremonies at the horse show. (This was taken 4/18/07.) Just being natural and look at that overstride!
Sam and Goldie competing in water glass class and WINNING in April, 2007!
GOING FOR THE GOLD
by Laura Kidder
Published in condensed version in the June, 2010 issue of Voice Magazine (the official journal of the Tennessee Walking Horse breed)
Back in the early eighties, I watched with admiration as a big, beautiful black Tennessee Walking Horse stallion entered the show ring in a flowing running walk, arched neck, perfect headset shaking with the rhythm of his perfect four-count hoof beats, mane flying and tail streaming behind. Coming from a stock horse background and new to gaited horses, I really appreciated his graceful, athletic way of moving, and it seemed to me that he was different than the other show horses, both in performance and in the obvious bond that his rider had with him. This was my first encounter with the petite ball of fire I came to know as Bonnie Smith, and “Jet Star’s Delight” – her future first Supreme Versatility Champion.
The team of Jet Star and Bonnie were formidable opponents in both pleasure and versatility events, as their perfect synergetic partnership brought them countless ribbons. I loved watching Jet negotiate the challenges in the trail obstacle classes, moving slowly and purposely across the bridge, backing perfectly through the ‘L’, side passing across the log, as if receiving commands by osmosis, and his canter was a beautiful rising and falling motion like a rocking chair. Most people are fortunate if they have one horse or dog of a lifetime, and Bonnie knew she was blessed to be able to own and ride such a fine animal.
This is the kind of horse that she was seeking when she happened upon an ad at Cloud 9 Walkers for a palomino colt that caught her attention, but he was already sold. A little later, she attended a desensitizing clinic, fell in love with a palomino weanling there and wound up taking him home with her, but was haunted by the thought that she may have left something behind at Cloud 9, so Bonnie visited that website again. She studied the pictures and video of a palomino filly there with a huge overstride, and after several email conversations with me, she decided to purchase the filly sight unseen, with the stipulation that I deliver her to a show in Conroe where she was showing one of her other Supreme Versatility Champions, “Brick”.
Bonnie’s husband, Bob, named her new filly “Goldie”, and no time was wasted in starting her education for her show career. I drove up to the show in Conroe, we unloaded the filly, and that evening, Bonnie began to introduce her to the show ring by ponying her from Brick’s back.
Bonnie now had two palomino babies which were foaled less than three weeks apart, and she started their training out early (natural horsemanship, of course!) by turning them out for lots of freedom and socializing, and ponying them with her great babysitter, Brick. All of this work paid off when the beautiful, long-striding gold filly won the Yearling Filly class at the SWBHEA Futurity at the State Fair of Texas Horse Show.
Later, when it was time to start riding training, Goldie accepted the saddle quite uneventfully, and eventually a rider, gracefully. She proved to have a fairly big motor and didn’t need any urging, she wasn’t spooky, and she was nicely sensitive to leg cues. Canter training was a little more challenging, as she was more like a runaway freight train without steering! Bob traveled a lot, which left nobody at home in case of an accident, and the ground was hard, so she decided to put a friend, Chris Aitchison on the green mare to develop a canter from this enthusiastic gallop. He put her through lots of practice in a pasture with tall grass, where she slowly learned to roll her canter, slow down and stay between the reins. Another friend, Samantha Boyce, who traveled to shows with Bonnie and showed her other horses, helped as well, and the young mare’s skills began to broaden.
Bonnie was feeling the need to get past her worries about falling off of a green horse, so she bought a tiller and was able to make a terrific horse-show-sized oval with soft ground for them to train on. Now, when she looked down from the saddle, she wasn’t so intimidated and she slowly began to regain her confidence and feel safe. It was time for the ‘master’ to take over again, so she began to work the young palomino mare toward the goal of relaxing her and refining her canter to her standards of perfection. The combination of soft ground, small circles, neck reining, and leg aids all contributed to making this young, willing filly a responsive versatility horse who was a true pleasure to ride.
“The part of Bonnie’s training program that I respect the most is the fact that all, and I mean every horse she has ever owned or trained, minds”, Samantha explains. “All of her horses tie, stand still while mounting/saddling, etc, they won’t run off while under saddle, and they never have any nasty habits such as kicking, biting, etc. Bonnie made it clear from the first day I came out to ride with her that my safety was of utmost importance and when working with animals that are 900 lbs. heavier than I was, those horses need to mind so that I wouldn’t get hurt. Bonnie doesn’t have any cruel or unusual means of teaching the horses manners -- she just makes sure her horses are respectful at all times, and if there is a problem, she addresses it right away. Speaking of Bonnie’s safety habits, at the barn she is lovingly referred to as the ‘Helmet Nazi’ because no one is allowed to ride without a helmet.”
Bonnie, who swears that she is directionally-challenged and can’t remember reining patterns, found that Reining and Western Riding were her favorite classes as Goldie learned flying lead changes like she loved them, too. Along the way, Bonnie and Samantha began to show Goldie at nearby schooling shows in the canter classes and as the young mare continued to improve, they began hauling to Tennessee Walking Horse shows, as well. They discovered that Goldie loved jumping, and took to it naturally, never trying to refuse or dodge the jumps.
Samantha says, “One of the things I like best about showing Goldie is that she has plenty of “gas”; I have never had to expend any effort trying to get her to move. If anything, it is harder to get her to do a flat walk than it is a running walk, because she wants to go. She is a very intelligent horse who picks up on patterns easily. Once I rode her in a western riding pattern, and just to irritate her, I asked for all the wrong lead changes. She didn’t listen to me once, but instead, took every correct lead that the pattern called for.”
Bonnie developed a bond with Goldie much like the one she had with her beloved Jet Star, and found that the bond with her brought forth memories of a big black stallion from yesteryear, with waves of nostalgia. Samantha agrees that the relationship between this “fireball” who is responsible for ten Versatility Championships and her “yeller palermeenie” is special: “Goldie is 100% Bonnie’s horse. The first time I climbed on her after Bonnie had started her, she tried to bite my foot! Miss Sweet Precious Goldie, who would never hurt a fly, tried to eat my toes because I was not her ‘mother’ and therefore was not supposed to ride her! Goldie and I have overcome that, but she still won’t perform for me like she will for Bonnie.”
Not everyone gets a chance at one Horse of a Lifetime, but Bonnie believes that she is blessed with the cherished experience of two, as she hugs her gold mare, “Peddlin’ The Gold”, National Supreme Versatility Champion.
Check out her National Walking Horse Association Show Points