July 11, 2014 at 12:14 PM

The Greatest Horse I Never Rode

'It’s been said that if a man is lucky, he will get one great horse in his lifetime'

By Susie Morgan

Hoof Prints in Santa Fe

Susie Morgan is a lifetime lover of horses, the outdoors and lives for adventures. She lives in Las Campanas, and is reconnecting with horses after working 27 years in New York City.

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The Greatest Horse I Never Rode



There are many world champion horses that I have only seen in glossy magazines.  At our barn, there are several magnificent horses.  As time has passed, they have come and gone through the barn doors.  My favorite has always been Cobre, owned by Garnis Hagen. 
When I was looking for horses myself, the trainer showed me several that were for sale at the time.  One had hooves that were too small, another was not the temperament I sought, or the training was not what I was looking for, or I didn’t love the conformation.  Then I spotted Cobre standing quietly in his stall. 



Cobre had that special conformation and temperament that I wanted for myself.  I called out to the trainer and pointed, “I want a horse just like this one.”   He replied, “Your budget isn’t big enough.”  And he was correct.  Anytime there was a special photo shoot, or a good-minded horse required, Cobre was the trainer’s ‘Go To’ boy.  Cobre was as handsome as he was intelligent, sweeter than honey, and with a great giddy-up n' go.



Luckily for me, Cobre was stabled in the box stall right next to our horse, so I visited Cobre often.  I had permission from Garnis to feed him treats, which I probably did more often than Garnis might have liked. Cobre was partial to carrots, apples and horse cookies; did not accept sweet potato slices.  Garnis would chide me that, because of my treats, Cobre had become a country club horse not fit for ranch work anymore. 



It’s been said that if a man is lucky, he will get one great horse in his lifetime.  I suspect that Cobre was that special horse for Garnis.  Cobre was a registered quarter horse bred for the Snaffle Bit Futurity with Colonel Freckles and Doc O’Lena on the front of his papers. But Cobre just wouldn’t stop growing so Garnis was able to snag him as a 3 year old.  Garnis is a life-long and true cowboy, (the only real deal cowboy at our barn), with an excellent eye for horses. 



Just for fun, Garnis and Cobre worked on Singleton Ranches’ San Cristobal Ranch which dates back to the original land grant in southern New Mexico.  Garnis is the only honorary ranch hand at San Cristobal; he rides with the cowboys because he can throw a rope, work cows and get the job done.  When Cobre moved up in years, Garnis found a younger horse to take on the strenuous work of cattle ranching and Cobre became his trail horse.  He lived at our barn for 10 years.



Early one morning, stable hands found Cobre had colicked in his stall.  The vet was summoned and before long it was determined that Cobre could not be saved, so he was humanely euthanized.  Cobre was great on the trail, but working cows was his first love.  Cutting was in his blood.  Despite his big size, Cobre was a star at sorting cows and admired by the cowboys for his talent.

Cobre is missed and mourned by all who knew him, and the barn won’t be the same without him.  Vaya con Dios, Cobre... Gallop across the rainbow bridge and graze freely.

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