Wildfire is a pale red dun with leg & dorsal stripes, just under 15 hands. Her sire is the famous Chance, whose photograph (right) has been used widely in many publications both in the USA and abroad (including Conquistador Magazine and Dr. Deb Bennett's Conquerors, The Roots of New World Horsemanship). Chance (now deceased) was widely regarded as an excellent representative of the Colonial Spanish Horse, also known as Spanish Mustang or (erroneously) Spanish Barb. Chance and Wildfire's dam, Question, were owned by Ron Roubidioux, who (more than any other single individual) raised public awareness regarding the enormous genetic value of this particular strain of Spanish Mustang. Horses from this Utah strain played a key role in the foundation of the Spanish Mustang Registry, and today represent a purer strain of Spanish blood than most.
Wildfire has four silver grulla offspring by Santiago: Vaquero Silver & Mithril & Quicksilver & Silver Eagle aka Smokey
Wildfire changed hands several times during her first few years, and was known by a variety of names. When we acquired her, this beautiful, tempestuous mare was dreadfully spoiled, used to dictating to humans exactly how she would allow herself to be handled. She used her body in bullying, threatening manner, and her "ultimate weapon" was the fear-bolt, which made her a very dangerous animal to handle. Apparently, she'd been getting away with this unacceptable behavior for many years. She had a violent aversion to being touched anywhere on her legs (or most anywhere else, for that matter). It is debatable how much of this bad bahavior was fear-based, how much was "trained" behavior resulting from mis-handling and mis-management, and how much was simply the bullying behavior of an alpha-mare that never learned to respect humans.
One clue was the long list that accompanied the mare from her previous home, a list of things to avoid because the mare would object to them. "Things to avoid" included any kind of rope or restraint, being tied, being touched, being approached from behind, behind approached from the off side, being touched on her legs, or trying to pick up her feet. According to the seller, the "only way" to even get near the mare was to lure her with candybars. If the mare needed to be kept standing in one place for any period of time, the way to keep her calm was to keep thrusting Butterfingers into her mouth (this "helpful" instruction was delivered in all seriousness.)
That pretty much says everything one needs to know. And it reinforces the old adage that it is never the horse's fault. With that kind of handling, there was never any possibility that this horse would learn good manners.
We knew she was going to be a handful, but her good looks and great bloodline were too tempting to resist, and we resolved to overcome the behavioral issues. (When the transport company delivered the mare into our yard, the driver handed us a bag of bite-size Butterfingers that had been sent with the mare. We asked the driver if she liked Butterfingers and when she said yes, we handed the bag back to her. That might have been wasting a perfectly good bag of candy, but it was a matter of principle. That bag of candy represented a world of dysfunctionality, and if that mare was ever going to exorcise the demons of her past, she needed a clean break. So, bye-bye Butterfingers...)
The attitude-adjustment took some time, but now she allows her feet to be picked up and knows how to stand like a lady. She is still snorty, but her manners have improved immensely and she no longer bullies with her body or threatens to run over the top of you. She voluntarily approaches and sticks her head in the halter (and all this without any food rewards, needless to say). The tight quivering tension that used to grip every muscle in her body (even her lower lip used to be screwed up so tight that it felt like rigid iron) is a thing of the past. Now, the lip hangs loose and relaxed, and the mare allows herself to be led around the paddock with nothing more than a gentle hand cupped beneath her chin.
In honor of her new-and-improved personality, she has earned her new name (Wildfire). The name-change also celebrates the fact that this mare's outstanding genetics are finally serving to preserve a pure bloodline.
Wildfire's 2007 grulla (pale black dun) filly by Santiago is her first full-Colonial Spanish offspring. Two excellent Spanish bloodlines (Santiago and Chance) come together in Vaquero Silver.
She comes down from yellow mountain On a dark, flat land she rides On a pony she named Wildfire With a whirlwind by her side
On a cold Nebraska night Oh, they say she died one winter And there came a killing frost And the pony she named wildfire Busted down his stall And in a blizzard he was lost
She ran calling wildfire Calling wildfire Calling wildfire
By the dark of the moon I planted But there came an early snow There's been a hoot owl howling by my window now For six nights in a row She's coming for me I know And on wildfire we're both gonna go
We'll be riding with wildfire Riding with wildfire Riding with wildfire
On a wildfire we're gonna ride We're gonna leave sod bustin' behind Let these hard times right out if my mind Riding wildfire