My Eldest Leaves the Nest ~ The Amazing Zeppelin

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*UPDATE* RIP Zeppelin 07/16/2018 See the update at the end of the article.

When my kids started their path into adult hood, having them leave the nest was much more difficult than I ever imagined. Not only did I miss them terribly but life was boring without them! I had way too much time on my hands. The 2008 financial crisis was well under way so I was not working like many others during that time. I was a horse show mom but once my daughter graduated high school, college and other priorities took place.

At first I sat at home, sad and miserable, but then decided this was not going to work for me. I was bored and gaining weight! I needed a hobby! I am a doer! Click here for ways to relieve Empty Nest Syndrome.


Kate Luke Wilson at 4H Regionals
Kate with Zepp showing his lovable side!

We had three horses when my daughter started college. I found homes for two of them but I still had Zeppelin. Yes, Zepp was “special”. His show name was IB A Rockstar …. hence the barn name of Zeppelin. Gorgeous but somewhat difficult to deal with. We will just say he was “cranky” as you can tell by the picture with his ears pinned. My daughter, Kate, rode with our local 4H club as well as the APHA and PtHA breed associations and showing at this level just was not an option any more with her in college. I did not own land so boarding, feed and vet bills were a drain on our finances. Our businesses revolved around the real estate industry so the horses needed to go!

If Zepp was showing he was happy as a clam. He loved his job and especially the camera. He was a total ham! He could spot a camera anywhere ringside.

Zepp found a camera!

I sent him to a trainer in the hopes of getting him on the right track and selling him. I had a feeling the horse was not being ridden as much as the trainer would like me to believe, so I decided to show up on weekends and take lessons. It was great exercise, the trainer was patient with me and it was out of town. My living quarters was parked there so I had a great way to escape missing my first born and I went from Show Mom to a rider.

I had the bug. I was not very good and he was difficult to ride in the sense he made you work for it, but it was the hobby I needed to break from Empty Nest Syndrome and take my mind off the what was happening with the financial crisis. This horse gave me all he had when we rode together. He made me work for it as well but we were building a bond that I have never had with any other horse I had owned.

Zepp went to the Pinto World Show in Tulsa to be sold as we were taking a beating during 2008. He placed in the Top Five in the Open Versatility Class riding with my trainer, it was a tough class and I was really proud of him. Some interested buyers would come by his stall to inquire about him but that “cranky” side would come out and turned off any potential buyers. He was not going anywhere but home with me.


Zepp loving the camera.

I took him home and started riding him and showing him locally. My daughter helped by taking over the “show mom” role with our new trainer Larry Newsome, who worked with Zepp at the other training facility as an assistant trainer. I trusted Larry not to kill Zepp for pinning him against a wall and I needed to learn what to do in the show ring!

Zepp and I bonded further through lameness, surgery, recovery and barn drama. He did not like too many people but he liked me. At least he didn’t try to kill me!

He helped me through the transition of missing a full house and reshaping my life. I helped him to stay sound and in the show ring. It was a lot of work, more money than I would care to admit, but I loved this horse. Despite all of his flaws and mine we became a team.

English Pleasure

By 2012 my back was starting to have issues and I was finally working again so keeping him in the ring was becoming more difficult. Larry found Zepp a new home where he could continue being the show horse he deserved to be, get the care he needed and with someone who thought his crankiness was as adorable as I did. Today, he is fat, happy and retired due to more lameness issues but the important part is he is happy living his life out in the pasture with his horse friends.

Below is a gallery of our time together.

From Larry Newsome Performance Horses:

RIP IB A Rockstar “Zeppelin”. 💔 You were one tough pony. But you took care of the ones you loved! You were the undefeated camera ham, and nearly undefeated grooming and conditioning champ. If you were in the pen yours ears were up. Most other times they were not!! Through the bites, kicks, the stall door rushes, the stud chains, the whips, some of us still dealt with you. You were never the easy horse but when you learned to trust us, you tried harder than most to do what we asked. No doubt in anyone’s mind your were the epitome of a show horse. If you weren’t on the trailer going to the show, you were pitching a fit! And please don’t let anyone with a camera be within a 100 yard radius cause all of a sudden you were posing in any way possible cause you loved the attention. You were such a handsome fella, but you made it clear your fans needed to keep there distance. For a horse that looked so good on the rail, you hated it. But halter and trail were your your thing!! You would stand up and set those ears forward better than any horse I have ever known. And i so loved perfecting a trail coarse with you. If you didn’t grab the rope at the gate, or a flower out of the box I could call it a good day! You loved it cause you were the only one on coarse and everyone was watching you. For being such an ass to people, you certainly loved other horses! From babies to your good ole pasture buddy Mack. You made us all angry, but you made us all laugh. There will never be another like you( and that might be a blessing)! For some you were a headache, for some a show horse, for some a lovable rattlesnake, for some a confidence booster, for some a teacher, but to a very few of us you were a horse we loved! Go rest buddy, you did your job!!!💔

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