Yesterday my sister Hillary, had to say goodbye to a piece of her heart. She lost dear, sweet Charcoal Sketch- otherwise known as "Sketch" often known as "Pig Pen" when mud around! My parent's bought Sketch for Hillary when he'd just turned 4. A small TB gelding, with a tattoo, who'd actually been to the racetrack! He was gelded late in life....a probable attempt to spur on more growth, but alas, Sketch would remain a runt amongst horses, king amongst ponies!
Sketch was always a beauty and the sweetest, kindest heart and soul imaginable for a pony. He LOVED to nibble on things, and couldn't resist the taste of leather! Many a purse-strap, halter, etc he left his mark on! But who could be mad, with that sweet face and even sweeter attitude. He made you want to hug him, and hug him often did many!
My sister Hillary became an "Expert" groomer with Sketch. You see, he was a grey....who should have been a bay....! She knows all of the best tricks of the trade for keeping a grey pony sparkling! She's had lots, and lots of practice to perfect this technique thanks to Sketch. They both spent much time together "pruning". Sketch liked dirt....and he LOVED MUD! Many a time did Hillary and I go to the barn in our youth, to find Sketch truly a horse of another color! Maybe he was trying to be a chameleon- one day brown, next day yellow, and a master at those darn stubborn green spots!!! But more likely, Sketch just liked MUD....and didn't pass up an opportunity in life to make the most of one of his passions!
Sketch was smarter than most people! He LIVED life to the fullest and was the BEST pony he could be. He never wished any malice or harm on ANYONE, and always tried his best. He was never jealous of his bigger cohorts in crime in the field....he joined in the fun!!! He also never missed an opportunity to lay his head on an inviting and allowing shoulder and then put all of his weight on you.....slowly ..... to test you, in order to see just how much he could get away with! He had a sense of humor- but never took it too far. Sketch also had a special game we played "tongue" He would nuzzle your hand, start licking you, then stick his tongue out and wait for you to grab it. Yes, he'd tongue wrestle! I know, kind of weird, but he loved it! And, Hillary, myself, and my baby sister Lauren spent much precious time playing "his game."
I taught my baby sister Lauren to ride on him. He was probably "a bit too much pony" for a then little seven year old, but we trusted him. Lauren got thrown on him bareback with a halter and lead rope often..... and well..... he taught her to stay on! Many a times she came off! But he still took care of her and never took things too far. Lauren and Sketch were my first students. He PATIENTLY and peacefully endured many a lesson where I yelled at her, she yelled back at me...and my first student, ALWAYS out-willed me! This is where I learned that Lauren is even MORE determined and stubborn than I am.....hard to believe? It's also where I learned that it is more rewarding to share a passion with others and see the one's you love succeed rather than keep it all to yourself! This is where I began my passion for teaching! Sketch taught me to be a good teacher! It all started with Sketch and Lauren!
Horses like Sketch contributed to the special bond I share with my sisters.Sketch taught us as little girl's the many life lessons that have made us the women we are today! God bless you sweet beloved Sketch! I know you are free and happy and running with a special herd of horses in heaven that have indeed already been angels on earth. Thank you for all of the lessons and for the wonderful memories my family and I have to cherish! Dear Sketch, the pony who should have been a horse, who was often a pony of another color, you were one of the most special threads in my sister's and my life that will forever bind us closer together. Enjoy your mud puddle "Pig Pen", you will be missed!