Joe Glow - Appaloosa stallion
I love 'coloured' horses, paints, palominos, buckskins, and Appaloosas. (I'm also very fond of 'solid' blacks.) One of the most beautiful, and gentlest horses I ever saw, was the Canadian black 'blanket spot' Appaloosa reining stallion, Joe Glo, who combines two of my favourite colours.
For those not familiar with the term 'reining' it's a kind of fast Western dressage, where the horse performs movements such as spins, side passes and the sliding stop - which is quite spectacular as the horse stops dead from a flat out gallop, in a cloud of dust. And it's done by the rider shifting their weight, not by using the reins. In fact I've seen it performed without the horse wearing a bridle or any form of halter on its head at all.
Appaloosas are a breed developed by the Nez Perce Indians and there are many different types and base colours, including some which don't actually have very many spots, but Joe Glow is one of the loveliest. I was fortunate to get to know him when his owner asked me to fit a working saddle for him to hack out in without spoiling his nice silver mounted show saddle. (I should explain that my husband and I have a small Western tack business and used to attend shows regularly, although we do most of our business on-line now.)
Joe is such a gentle horse that when I first saw him at Grantham in England, his owner had left the door of his box stall open. He was quite happy to stay there without restraint and anyone who wanted to talk to him was perfectly safe. She told me a touching story abbout a show they were at in a similar situation. A young girl and her mother stood by Joe's stall. The girl was in a wheelchair, a victim of Thalidomide, with shortened stumps for arms. Joy encouraged them to go into the stall with Joe, and as if he sensed she couldn't reach up to him herself, Joe lowered his head and gently nudged her withered hands with his muzzle, as if to say 'don't worry, if you can't stroke me, I'll stroke you instead.'
I've always remembered that story and Joe Glow will stay forever in my mind, one of those special, unforgetable horses.
This is Joe in the practice ring at Grantham. You can see how calm and unphased he is with strange horses.
and this is him after his performance, patiently waiting as he's untacked.