The Chapo Story
Chapo has crossed the rainbow bridge and is no longer with us. He died of old age. He was about 40. He was one of the best lesson horses God ever put on this Earth! He lived his life out here at Amor Ranch. He had a nice retirement. He was also one of the smartest horses I have ever been around. The story of how this wonderful horse came to be part of our lives is below.
Back in 1996 I left the barn where I was currently teaching. I decided to make a major change and accept a wonderful offer to teach lessons at a newer barn called Horseshoe Stable. The old barn had supplied me with many horses for lessons. There, Jodie and I owned only 2 horses, a Shetland pony and a little AQHA mare that were both Jodie's. Neither of these horses could be used for lesson horses. They both had too much go and not enough stop!
So, the summer of '95 was a hard working summer, I would teach at the old barn then Jodie and I would go to HorseShoe Stable to train and school the slowly acquired new horses we were purchasing. He is the most honest wonderful horse I have ever taught on. I would be starting at HorseShoe Stable Sept 1st of 1996. That was one hot, hard summer, we spent 3 months learning the disposition of the new horses and getting them to jump and do all the requirements of a good lesson horse. Some had to be sold because they just weren't going to work out.
Horses are so much like children; they will behave great for the adult that requires it of them, and then misbehaved under an adult that does not know how to handle children. Horses do the same. It is amazing how the horse can be fine for an experienced rider and horrible for the inexperienced. That was the hurdle we had to face. We had to find out which horse would be good for a beginner rider. It can be very hard.
Well we did great. Lessons started on my new horses at the new barn and life was grand! Of course I was always in the market for a new lesson horse. One day a local horse dealer called me and told me he had a great horse for me, he was almost sure he was a horse from Mexico. He did lots of trading of horses and knew my lesson reputation. This horse was for his children. They lost interest and didn't want to ride. He offered Chapo to me for $800. I bought him that day, brought him home and was using him in lessons the next day.
Chapo came as he is and did not need any training. He is the most honest wonderful horse I have ever taught on. I haven't ever used a horse so quick as Chapo. He did come to me with one huge problem though! If I turned him out to play in the big arena he would not let me catch him! He was horrible about that. I got to were I never turned him out in a large area. Just the round pen. This barn did not have pasture, like we do here. All my horses lived in pens about 12x14. I liked to turn them out in the arena so they could run roll and play as much as they needed too. Then they were settled down and ready to work for me in a lesson.
I was a bit concerned about this problem of not being able to catch Chapo when we were going to move here to 42 acres! What was I going to do? Well food was the answer. He is a pig for grain. Every time I caught him I had food and soon he learned to come to me. Now sometimes I go out to catch him for a lesson and he will come loping over to me. Never did I dream he would do that!
I was told when I bought him that the name Chapo has a meaning. In Mexico, children that are good hands on the ranch with horses and cows are called Chapos. I am not sure if that is totally true... Do you know? Anyway, we were very lucky to have Chapo in our program. Sometimes I wonder what I would do without him. He taught hundreds of fearful kids and adults how to ride, and love doing it. There is no replacement for this good old man.