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This weekend the Yonder editors attended a rodeo in Bulverde, Texas, which is not as Yonder as it sounds. Bulverde is a small town just outside sprawling San Antonio. The folks at the Tejas Rodeo put on a rodeo every Saturday night through the summer and fall. It’s kind of a mini-tour for the big professional rodeo. Lots of kids and horses and barbecue and beer. It was a reminder how life can be tied up with animals in a way that’s healthy, fulfilling and fun.
Then late yesterday we received a note from John Killacky of San Francisco. The newspaper there interviewed him about how he has revived a “youthful passion” for Shetland ponies. As Killacky tells it, he was the son of a cattle raiser in Illinois. In 1962, he says, “I witnessed a Shetland pony mare give birth to Raindrop, a beautiful roan filly. I had never seen anything so miraculous. For years afterward, I ran with Raindrop in the fields, groomed her in the barn, and rooted for her at county fairs. She became the best friend I never had.”
Killacky grew up and left his love for Shetlands behind, only to rediscover the animals three years ago. He found Fog Ranch in Moss Landing, California, where he learned how to harness and drive a pony cart. Now Killacky (above) is entering competitions, which isn’t easy for him. Spinal surgery 13 years ago left him a paraplegic. Shetlands don’t care, of course, and Killacky has been accepted by ponies and those that raise them. “There is nothing like pony breath and velvet nose nudges,” Killacky says — which is true in California and Texas.