Foaled on St. Patrick’s Day in 1974, Charron’s Shamrock came into this world with an indomitable spirit, a head full of sense, and a strong sense of self. Rocky, as the bay gelding was known, came into Becky’s life when she was only 13. She instantly knew that this was the horse for her and made no bones about it. After negotiations and a lengthy battle to get Rocky into the trailer (a battle that would be repeated innumerable times in the coming years) the little bay gelding arrived at Becky’s home in Kent, Washington. Although only 1/8 of Rocky was Quarter Horse, the rest being Arabian, Rocky had a rear end that wouldn’t quit, beautifully correct legs, and though he also had a steep shoulder and a short neck, he had enough sass to make up for it. He was a wonderfully balanced individual and incredibly athletic – Rocky could, and did, do everything.
But before he got around to doing everything, there was the issue of making Rocky into a believer. There was the first halter class, wherein Rocky reared, there was the threat from Becky’s father regarding Rocky’s penchant for breaking free from the lunge line and tearing through the backyard on the way back to the barn, there were a multitude of lessons to be taken from Don Maelstrom and others. But eventually, Becky and Rocky’s relationship was forged into something indelible, with all the strength of tempered steel. Bad behavior in the ring transformed into winning ribbons, willfulness turned into willingness, and within a couple of years, Rocky and Becky had created what all riders aspire to find – that centaur-like connection between horse and human. Becky only needed to think it and Rocky did it.
Eventually Becky set off for college and the now seasoned campaigner was loaned to her younger sister, Carrie. Rocky became her first show horse and together they had great success. Time moved on, Carrie got her own horse, and Rocky accompanied Becky as she finished college, became a teacher, moved to Georgia, back to Kent, and finally back again to South Carolina. It was here that Rocky found his final home, a lovely haven owned by Barbara Jiminez. Rocky was turned out with Copy, Barbara’s retired hunter, and life was good for many years. He had a clean, warm stall, green grass, good company, and a most important job – teaching Becky’s daughter Courtney how to ride.
At 26 Rocky developed a bladder stone that required surgery. If the surgery was not performed, he would eventually have to be put down. Becky searched the area and discovered Bonnie Brae Equine Veterinary Hospital, now Tryon Equine. Newly founded, Rocky would become Bonnie Brae’s first patient. Post-op, Rocky developed severe complications, going septic. Becky spent every moment at Rocky’s side, willing him to get better. And then Rocky began to founder. But Rocky was a fighter, and he was given time to see if he could somehow make a miraculous recovery. On October 13th, things began to turn around and he eventually made a full recovery. His framed portrait still hangs in the hallway of Bonnie Brae. Another two years passed, with Rocky picking up the accoutrements of old age. But despite Cushing’s Disease, trouble with his epiglottis, and other ailments Rocky was still Rocky – tough minded, determined, intelligent.
Finally, his front feet, for so long perfectly sound, began to turn on him. Dr. Hay, who had performed the bladder stone surgery on Rocky, drove from his practice in Columbus, NC to Greer, SC to put Rocky down not long before Christmas in 2002. Rocky, however, had other ideas, and was too defiantly alive to be taken that day. Dr. Hay said, “that truck made the trip once, it can make it again.” By the day after Christmas, Rocky was ready, and this time it was Dr. Bebe Freer who made the trip. With Barbara, Carrie, Becky and their mother, Irene, beside him, stroking his grey mottled face, Rocky left us. The next day dawned a lesser world due to his passing.