Louisville Magazine

APR 2019

Louisville Magazine is Louisville's city magazine, covering Louisville people, lifestyles, politics, sports, restaurants, entertainment and homes. Includes a monthly calendar of events.

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LOUISVILLE MAGAZINE 4.19 115 On a snowy Sunday in March, Horsemen Helping Horses held its official launch party in the barn on Antioch Road in Shelbyville, where Mary Rose leases space from equine veterinarian Steve Allday and his wife Kim. e group is still waiting for the final paperwork for its 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status. Dante the wild stallion is wild no more. Last summer, he represented Kentucky Mountain Horses at the Bluegrass Fair at Masterson Station Park in Lexington, walking around carnival rides and tolerating the attention of strangers. en, on March 10 this year, he rode with the hounds in his first fox hunt. (ey don't actually chase foxes.) "He was so good!" Mary Rose crows the afternoon of the fox hunt. "He was a little confused at first, but he stayed calm." e only trouble? He wanted to be the leader. "Once he learned what his job was, he was really good," she says. "I was almost in tears today riding Dante. I was just so fucking proud of this horse!" Rocky will take a bit longer to catch up to Dante's accomplishments. Mary Rose walks him down to the arena on the Allday farm one day in mid-March. She lets him loose and Rocky bolts, kicking up dirt, until he reaches the gate at the far end. e gate is closed, so he wanders around a bit. Mary Rose joins him, takes his face in her hands and gives him an affectionate rub. en he walks to the front of the arena, and for only the second time in more than a year, he looks at me with no sign of fear. When Mary Rose climbs into the saddle moments later, he moves away smoothly. He's a gaited horse, which means he has a gait between a walk and a trot. He lifts both legs on one side and then both on the other, a movement some riders prefer for its smoothness. He's come so far. In December 2018, he got away from Mary Rose and raced down the road. A stranger was able to grab his lead rope and bring him home. Different people take turns grooming him now. He let me brush him and was fine — uninterested, even. He's been on his first trail ride. It was uneventful. He and Dante spend all their spare time together. ey are best buds in the field. ey will always be different than the barn-born horses. Rocky's dad wasn't born feral, Karen Slone says, but he was out on the mountain so long, he might as well been. He's dead now, but his grandbabies are all over the place. Karen has one of Rocky's babies. She named the filly GaDara, which is Armenian for "from the top of the mountain." e filly is black, just like Rocky. Neither Rocky nor Dante will be making any more babies. I wonder what Rocky remembers of the mountain where he was born, of Chocolate, his favorite mare, of the lady and man in the blue truck who used to come to feed his family, of the green sweet grass and the blue smudge of mountains in the distance. You have to wonder, don't you? Does a horse have regrets?

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