Just asking, if anyone remembers him. I would love to have a picture of him showing back in the eighties, I have lost track of his owner/rider of that time, Melissa Hobbie. Long story short, I have him now, and he is nearing the end of his glorious days, would love for the kids who know him now to see what he once was when in his prime. He was in CT and FL during the days around when he carried Melissa to Pony Equitation Finals in 1984, Charlie Ziff also rode him when Melissa outgrew him (aged out I think.) Anyone?
Thanks, that's a great help. So, he's "Woody" too? Too funny. He was "Randy" when we saw him at Culpeper, and we sent him off to CT in the late seventies as "Tag." His story is reminds me of Black Beauty and War Horse all in one, except that he hasn't really ever suffered much. Living as a show pony in the best circles, starting out as a herd baby in Brodnax VA, ending up with me (again) as a retiree, he's had a good life.
I estimate him to be 37-38, I met him first as a two year old, my high school years I worked for an old local horsewoman who happened to be good friends with Sue Meredith. Sue used to pack her stock trailer with youngsters for us to break, she'd taken them back and get them to someone else for more work. Mary (my boss) bought two young ones for her barn, first Woodlands Pine Needles and the next year, Woodlands Pine Tag. I think Needles came in 1974, Tag in 1975. Mary's farm was "The Pines". It was a rough kind of little barn, and Mary was really unique, even eccentric. We (all my teenage girlfriends who also hung out at the barn) showed her horses and ponies for years locally, Tag proved to be exceptional, very steady and even, a nice mover and gave all he had over fences. Mary always had a tough time financially, so when a local horsewoman persisted in trying to buy him, she relented and sold him, mostly I think due to the argument that Tag deserved to go out and be shown beyond central VA. It was a great argument at the right time, and the local woman sold him to the Hobbies.
We watched Tag through the Chronicle, and when he was showing at Showday Farm in Culpeper, Sue had hired us gals to take several of her ponies and show them at an auction I think the VPBA was sponsoring, so we got to see him again. He was gorgeous, all fat (really fat) and fit, and a stall. I don't think Melissa was with him then, he had been leased out. That was the last time I saw him for a while.
Here's where it gets good: I worked as a dog groomer in a trendy section of Richmond known as Carytown, and one day in the mid nineties, a young woman came in and bought some items for her dog. She paid by check, and I just happened to be the one who got up to ring up her sale. I noted the name on the check, Melissa Hobbie. Hmmm....do I ask? I did, I laughed as I told her I had heard that name before, as a young lady who bought and showed a pony I once knew as Tag years ago. As it turned out, she was the same one. I got immense goosebumps as I asked how he was, and he was good, except due to his having become permanently unsound (splint surgery), he was living as a babysitter, and not doing such a hot job of it.
Mary had had an accident in 1992, and she died at 82, leaving her horses orphaned and her farm in the hands of a friend who had bought it years back, leaving her life rights. That friend lived in Chicago, so I ended up caring for some of the old horses (a huge long story there-make sure you will your horses to someone you trust) and the farm, and I offered Tag a forever home if Melissa felt he could use it. In a few weeks, Tag shipped down and he's been with me ever since. How perfect is that? I used him as a groundwork teacher for horseless kids in 4H, and he's had many kids love him and learn from him without ever riding him. He is still every bit as impressive in his character as he ever was, and he's been though a lot with me, as I worked from those odd ten years managing the old horses on the old farm, and now I have him and a good few more with me on my farm, a couple miles from The Pines.
Thanks for listening. I wish all horses could live fairy tale lives like he has. I appreciate Melissa tremendously for leaving him with me.
I immediately went through all the searches I could think of, and lo&behold, there was one search that lead me to another Chronicle Forums post about this book. THAT had a link to AbeBooks, where I went and found one copy for $30. Now, that I can afford, so I snapped it up (I hope). Again, more copies for over $200 as well, so I pray this is the real deal. Ebay had nothing today, but I looked there as well before finding this one. YAY! THANKS all, I look forward to seeing it. Sounds like a good book in any case.
I am Melissa Hobbie's mother - her sister just found this forum and we are thrilled!
Here is Melissa's email: email@example.com. Melissa lives in Moseley and I know she would love to connect with you. Years ago we visited your farm to see Randy - we loved him dearly and we have photos and films when he was Emerson Burr's "star" as he referred to him. This is so exciting - it's so late at night, I can't call Melissa until the morning. Joyce Hobbie
My wife and I are replying separately since we are so excited to hear about Randy. We loved him so and, as we could not keep him with us after his injury, we were happy to be able to return him to his original home to retire. we were so excited when Melissa and you found each other. I know your posting is a year old but I wish with all my heart that he is still alive. He was born in 1976. A great hunter, loved to jump. I watched him win the Pony Finals its first year. There were 50 ponies and Melissa/Randy went first. They were still first after the other 49 riders completed their rounds. i know my wife is sending you Melissa's contact information. We are visiting her in May but will see her in Atlanta when we see her sister in Atlanta. Reading this brought tears to our eyes. Thank you, Bob