Outside Circle by Jan Swan Wood: Happy Trails Dick, Kirk Hall wins at McCook, Lisa Lockhart has close call | TSLN.com

Outside Circle by Jan Swan Wood: Happy Trails Dick, Kirk Hall wins at McCook, Lisa Lockhart has close call

It's sure been a beautiful spell of weather, hasn't it? We pre-conditioned our calves this past week and they are lunkers this year. It's just amazing how fat the cows are too, even the old ladies who have raised a baker's dozen of calves look round and smooth. The pastures don't look like they should be fat, but, I'm sure grateful. Now if the market would just recover a bit I would be satisfied.

I was saddened to read in this very publication of the passing of the grand racehorse man, Dick Kellem. I hadn't heard a word of his death or funeral, so am troubled by not being there to see him off. He sure had some good horses over the years and the stories he told were priceless. Some of the greats he had were Quarter Horses Una Bars, Sailing Moon, El Charger Go and the Thoroughbreds Red Monk, Crafty Ridan, Withit, and in his last years his homebred Paint Crafty Cochise. Always a horseman, he was also just a fine human being and someone dear to my heart, as is his dear wife Carole. Next time you are "too busy" to stop in and see someone but promise yourself you will next time, just hit the turn signal and go see them. I'll never have that chance again with Dick, much to my regret.

I got word that Kirk Hall from Hall Performance Horses, Edgemont, S.D. did very well at the Level One Futurity in McCook, Neb. Riding Nighttime Playmate in the Reined Cow Horse, he piloted the three year old stallion to the win with a 213.5 point run. That would have also won the Open if he'd been entered, so not too shabby at all! The good stud is by the May's Nighttime Shiner stallion who just recently passed away. Nighttime Playmate is owned by Mick Anderson, Custer, S.D. I'm sure we'll be seeing more of that good horse in the future.

Lisa Lockhart, sweetheart of pro barrel racing for many of us, had a very close call this month when a rear wheel on her big trailer caught on fire. She was south of Rapid City on the four lane when she saw the smoke. She was able to get all three horses unloaded, and though they ran off down the highway, at least weren't in the fire. She was also able to unhitch the trailer and get the pickup out from under it, plus passersby pitched in and helped unload alot of tack out of the trailer before it burned to the ground. The horses were recaptured without incident and all is well. Lisa is sure grateful for the help of people who stopped and also that it didn't start a big prairie fire in the process. What a scary experience with a much happier ending than it could have been.

June Holeman, Arcadia, Neb., WPRA barrel racer and WNFR qualifier, lost her great Sparky horse on Oct. 14. Sparky, 27, was retired on June and Donnell's ranch and had lived out his years there in comfort and privilege. Sparky, whose registered name was Sparky Impression, was by Sutton's Barnone Impressive, so had S.D. roots. June and Sparky paired up when June was 58 and Sparky was 12. Sparky was small for a barrel horse at 14.1, but he didn't know he was little and ran his heart out for June and several others. In 2005 he was named barrel horse of the year by AQHA/WPRA. He qualified for circuit finals, won them, won all the big ones in his time, and even returned to competition briefly after a broken leg had sidelined him. It's always sad to lose a horse of a lifetime like that, but what a life and journey he and June had had together. Happily, he died of natural causes, right in front of the house at the Holeman ranch.

I don't have any other real news for you this week, but will sharpen my axe again on one of my pet peeves. I saw a big yearling colt not only wearing a halter, but dragging one of those flat nylon lunge lines behind him in a junky lot around a barn. The visions I had of what could happen to him just made me shudder. I guess people just don't think about the what-ifs. I sure do, as having had horses for so long, know that they can butcher themselves pretty badly on a cottonball wrapped in bubble wrap. So, please don't leave a halter on a horse, much less dragging a long lead like that.

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Have a great week and take a moment to enjoy the song of the cranes going south, bittersweet as that is. Some folks don't get to live where they could hear them, so enjoy one of those privileges of our rural life today. Simple pleasure in God's wondrous creation is one of our many blessings.

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