Sports R Awesome Dude
(a.k.a. That Spotted Son of a Bitch)
16-year-old Appaloosa Gelding
Owner: Maria Meister
KEC boarder since 2007
Dude is one of more colorful fixtures at KEC in many respects, and not just because of his spotty butt and bald face. Owner Maria Meister, owner/manager of KEC and also CFO at The Carriage Works, describes Dude as a fun-loving pest. “If there is something to get into, he’ll get into it”, Maria says.
Foaled in Morgan Hill, California, in 2001, Dude popped into the world with an impressive pedigree, having been sired by Zippo’s Pine Chip whose line includes such notable stallions as Three Bars, Leo, and Poco Bueno. His dam, Maria’s mare, the late, great Mare Bear, did not initially take to motherhood, and tried to kill her foal when he was three days old. Maria’s attempts to find a local mare to graft him onto were unsuccessful, and not wanting to bottle-raise him, they stayed in the stall with Mare and Dude for three days to protect him and hold Mare so he could nurse. Mare finally accepted him, and turned into a great mother.
Dude was started with a trainer between two and three years old. About ten days into his training, the trainer called Maria to report that Dude was “not ready” for training, “but boy that sum-bitch can buck!” He was restarted a few years later at a more mature seven or eight, and though still green broke, became a natural on the trails.
His progress was interrupted again in 2013 when he somehow broke his right front leg, and was put back out to pasture to mend. Once completely recovered, nearly four years later, his training resumed with the help of Bobbijo Wheelock, another boarder at KEC, and owner of last month’s featured horse and Dude look-alike, Olaf. Dude continues to learn, and is currently being ridden by Samantha Hollinger, who is doing some beautiful work with him according to Maria. He is also helping Bobbijo’s daughter, Temperance, build confidence.
Eventually, Maria would like to be able to ride him without a bridle as she did with his mother, Mare. He’s not quite there yet, but is turning into a quiet, soft, and willing horse thanks to Bobbijo and Samantha according to Maria.
Having loved working with horses “forever”, Maria feeds her passion being a stable owner, and enjoying the simple pleasures of grooming them and going for a nice ride. She admires a number of famous trainers, and freely shares her knowledge and experience, but has particular admiration for local trainer, Michael Wakefield, for his intelligence and experience with horses, and Bobbijo Wheelock, for her perseverance, courage, and abilities on a horse.
As owner of KEC, Maria has enjoyed watching KEC evolve into the facility it is to day, and still has many plans for the future. She and husband Les Hathorn have built a wonderful community here. As Maria says, “I love everyone here, and think we have the best group of boarders anyone could ask for.”