In the Nick of Time (Nickers)
American Saddlebred rescued by Kathy D. When his new mom removed that tailbag in the picture of Nickers at the feedlot, his tail flowed 2ft. behind him! That's AFTER it hit the ground....2ft. of tail on the ground! My goodness!
3/2/2019 - A Gate to Heaven was opened
I just have no words that can adequately describe what a GIFT Nick was. I hate typing the word was. Nick was an ambassador for rescue horses and his breed, the American Saddlebred. What he so willingly gave to those that knew him is so much more than I can express. What I felt when I was with him was an internal smile with an undercurrent of joy. He brought people all across this land together that would probably never have met otherwise. He just gave of himself....no matter who, what, when or where. Thank you Nick for you and all the Kodak Memories of the Heart.
11/8/2015 - 17 yrs. AFTER being rescued!
Tier, here's your rescue #6 ... sporting a blue ribbon 17 years almost to the day that we got him. Pretty good for an old man, eh?  Nick  always looks so handsome in blue!
10/26/2010 - 2010 California Futurity!
Check out the bling on Kathy & Nick at the California Saddle Horse Futurity held in Las Vegas this October!
Love the classy matching manicure! Check out these links for more pictures of this Ambassador for rescued horses and the American Saddlebred!
ANOTHER Blue Ribbon
What a Classy Pair:
Nickers is now known in the UK!
He made the front page of Saddlebreds.uk Issue 62 (Feb 2010)
Want to share my awesome day with you. Kathie, owner of Nickers (In the Nick of Time on our website) asked me to take a mental health day and go to Temecula , CA (about an hour away) where she has a Saddlebred mare & her daughter in training. I met the baby right after it was born, about 5 years ago, and the mother is Miss P who is absolutely a divine feminine horse. So, I went.
We get there and there are tons of horses of course. Some gorgeous Fresians, a Palamino Arab mare I saw being worked western, other Saddlebreds, etc. etc. At the end of the barn this looooooong neck with a horse's head sticks out of a stall and I gasp! I didn't know Nickers was there! It was such a joy to see him again!
First they worked the "baby" whose name is Moxie. Boy those horses sure have a lot of action! Kathie had an Adult Equitation class on Nickers with her trainer for a bit and then they got Miss P. ready for her training workout in Western Riding. While Kathie was riding Nickers I got to see him do that famous Saddlebred canter with his head collected, neck arched, high stepping, ground eating movement. Nostrils flared......the whole thing! Goose pimply stuff!
Then, as they were getting Ms. P ready for her workout, they switched Nickers' saddleseat saddle for a Western one, put him in a hackamore and handed me the reins. Kathie says "Take the boy for a ride. You made it a possiblity for me to help him and now he wants to help you!"
I had gotten on him once at Equine Affaire, but that was just to sit on him (and that tiny little saddle) and take a few steps. Today, I rode him all over the property. He is absolutely push button and I never felt safer on a horse. I haven't ridden in a almost a year (Weezer died earlier this year) and then only around the arena.
Just what I needed and what a gift. Just wanted to share that with you! WOOOOOOO HAAAAAAAW!
9/23/2009 - Silver Saddle - Last Ride
The story of the Silver Saddle ride:
One horse can change many lives. Case in point is our Nick, registered name, I'm W.O. Bentley. This was not his first registered name, however. That singular "honor" goes to the name "House Buster." His barn name was, of course, "Buster."
Buster was bred in Jasper, Indiana, and one of the most famous Saddlebred farms to ever grace this country, Ruxer Farms. His daddy was Talent Town and his mama was Sultan's Lou Lou - a full sister to another famous stallion, Worthy Son. Buster's full sister is the mom to the World Grand Champion Manilla Thrilla, so he has many royally and closely bred relatives.
His breeder is a gentleman by the name of Bob Ruxer. When this odyssey started, I knew of Ruxer Farms, but didn't know who Bob Ruxer was, nor could I dream of meeting him. He was Saddlebred "royalty" and I was, well, I was just a little gal with a nice gaited horse out here on the West Coast (whoanellie met that horse at Pomona). In a world populated by heiresses to the Wall Street Journal, Wrigley chewing gum, the Grand Old Opry, and even men known to utter "beam me up Scotty!" I was a one horse owner.
But, we all do share a love of the Saddlebred horse. Fast forward. Six years after I got Nick, we got his papers. I became more active in the breed association and started attending the annual convention in February in Lexington, KY. By now, Nick and I were established as the "flag horse" at West Coast shows, presenting the flag both side saddle and in parade tack.
Because of a wonderful lady that I met who lost her horse quite wickedly, Nick was invited to be the flag horse at the American Royal one year. We decided this would provide focus on rescue horses and would be-a-good-thing (there was no organization known as Saddlebred Rescue at the time - this was only about 5 years ago). So, off we go to Convention.
Well at Convention that year, they are unveiling a book by Mr. Bob Ruxer called, "The Silver Saddle." While the book is a whole lot more (and you all should read it), it starts off with a child's recollection of the very first horse he saw go onto the green shavings at the Saddlebred World Championship in Louisville, Kentucky. That horse was Trigger, ridden by Roy Rogers. At that moment, Bob Ruxer didn't want to be like Roy, he wanted to be Roy. The book continues on to discuss Bob's quest through his career for that "Silver Saddle" ride - riding and winning one of performance championships at Louisville. Because Ruxer Farms was a breeding organization, they certainly bred enough of the eventual winners, but Bob never actually rode to the winners circle on Saturday night.
You see, folks, Bob Ruxer is going to turn 60 this year. That's young, you say. But in the early 90's, Bob was struck with a rare neurological disease that less than 500 people in the US have in total. It destroys your nerves and the ability for your nerves to communicate. So, slowly, Ruxer Farms training program had to slow down, and now, there is not even a Ruxer Farms breeding program. So even though Bob was only 55 at the time, he would never have the opportunity to get that Silver Saddle Ride of his life.
But, just like in the movies, (cue the music) in comes the gorgeous steed to the rescue!!! I read the book and was touched. I am not normally a person who has a whole lot of chutzpah in this sort of situation, but I walked up to a total stranger, a member of the Saddlebred elite, and said, "Mr. Ruxer, you don't know me at all, but I'd like to give you your Silver Saddle ride. It's not Louisville, but it IS a real Silver Saddle and it's on a horse you bred."
Well, Bob is a very kind person and said all the right words and walked away. I'm sure he thought that was that. But, when I have a this-it-be-good idea (thank you Coreene!), I don't let go. Bob went home and discussed it (and the crazy woman) with his lovely wife, Laura, and she said that he should "think about it."
As the months rolled along (this was February, the Royal was in November), Bob finally broke down and committed to making his last public appearance at the Royal. But, you have to remember, this was the little boy who wanted to be Roy Rogers. He got himself a blue shirt with white fringe. Tan pants that were tucked into his boots. And, of course, the requisite white hat. We finished it off with a belt buckle that had been won by Nick at a street parade. Bob did not want all of the bling that goes with a parade saddle, so the hip drops and serapes were removed. We didn't go so far as to bleach Nick to Palomino, but it was probably considered!
So, off my parents went in the motor home from San Diego to Kansas City with the parade saddle (they don't ship well). They broke down, so they rented a vehicle and mom drove the saddle the rest of the way to ensure it was there in time. Dad did manage to get the motorhome going, so he did make it in time.
Nick and I had a blast presenting the flag each night. Bob arrived with his family and went for a test ride. Before he did, though, he wandered the barns and he actually found Nick, recognizing him by the characteristics stamped by the years of his breeding program.
By now, his disease had progressed to the point that he had pretty much lost feeling in his right leg. Kinda hard to keep your leg in the stirrup! So, it's onto the night of the performance. We get Nick ready and then we get Bob there. Bob had to help get him ready (he's quite the groom).
Standing absolutely motionless both for mounting and stirrup fussing, Nick just realized how important this was. It was off to Kemper. I had to go to center arena with Laura and Chelsea (his daughter) and my Dad stayed with Bob to hand him the flag.
As the gates swung open, Nick went into snorty show horse mode and started bouncing down the ramp and into the arena. Three strides into the arena and Bob, Laura, myself, and most importantly, Nick, could tell that Bob was losing his balance. Without missing a beat, nor dropping his head a half inch, nor flicking an ear, Nick moved underneath Bob to accommodate him and adjusted his gait from showhorse bounce to saddlehorse smooth. Off they went around the arena. Nick stepping proudly, Bob smiling, and Laura and I clinging to each other sobbing at the horsey miracle we had just witnessed. She whispered to me, "your horse is my new favorite horse in the world." The boys made two circuits of the ring while the announcer told Nick's story.
They lined up for the National Anthem and Chelsea and Laura went out and stood with Bob. His feet were now entirely out of the stirrups and he had them put them back in while they were standing next to him (being the big tapaderos, the audience didn't know).
Afterwards, we took the flag away from Bob and read a tribute to Bob and his years of making everyone else's dreams come true for their silver saddle moment. Then, much to my surprise, the announcer started reading, "to Kathie, I wish I could tell you how I felt when I stepped up on Nickers. I have had more than my share of special favors in my lifetime - none gave me the thrill that I had tonight. What a wonderful way to close out a dream that I live everyday. So here's to you, a very special friend - and may you have the thrill that you have given me - it's been SILVER all of the way!" With that, the band broke into a medley of Happy Trails AND Happy Birthday (did we forget to frost the cake with the fact that it was his birthday???) and Bob and Nick cantered around the arena in perfect harmony before he took off his hat and bid the show ring and riding, forever, a final goodbye.
I'm W.O. Bentley, formerly known as Nickers or In The Nick of Time was found in a So Cal feedlot about 10 years ago. TIER helped facilitate his rescue from slaughter and his mom, CA ASB, has helped him become an ambassador for rescues!
Nickers went from an unknown Saddlebred in a feedlot to finally being identified after several years of hard work by his owner. Previous to his identification he was shown in English Open Pleasure and did very well. Now that his identity is in intact, he can show in classes for registered horses.
And.....now he is carrying the flag on the USEF site under the Parade Horse discipline!
Link to USEF page: http://www.usef.org/_IFrames/breedsDisciplines/discipline/allparade.aspx
Well here are photos, pre-parade with the new (old) rig. The rider will be getting more sparkly, but the horse looks pretty darn cute!
Kathie, Nickers' mom, has spent 5 years trying to get Nick's registration papers. She did research which entailed blood typing and finally found out who he really is. The hard part was getting the person who had his papers to transfer them over to Kathie. This was the person who dumped him and he ended up in a feedlot. It's been a long road for Kathie, she perservered, and Nickers will have his name/heritage in place. Kathie has not told her mom that she finally got his papers (Mom has been diligent in helping Kathie and absolutely loves Nickers. Mom used to show ASB's in her early years). So, at Del Mar on June 18th, Kathie is going to suprise her Mom with Nick's heritage.
Anyway, the class Nickie normally shows in is English Open Pleasure. Now, he is eligible for all of the ASB classes. They are going to show him in Country Pleasure. On Friday, the English Open Pleasure class is right before the Country Pleasure class. Kathie will take him out to warm up for EOP ... And mom will think he's going to be in that class. He won't showup. We're going to let her fret that Kathie screwed up or something is wrong. THEN, he'll trot in for the CP class ... She'll still be thinking that Kathie has screwed up and is now in the WRONG class. Then, when she figures it out, Dad or Mike will hand her an envelope that says "Happy Mother's Day," (she missed it this year - she was on vacation) and the papers will be inside.
Nickers at Equine Affair in Pomona, CA.
Mmmmm....good cookies... :)
Do you recognize the proud boy in the photo?
Opening ceremonies each night at the Charity Fair Horse Show in Del Mar, CA featured Nickers & Kathie! - Read about it.
For the second consecutive year, Nickers is the high point champion for the Open division for NCASHA (Northern California American Saddlebred Horse Association). Because he does not have papers, he must show in open breed classes against other breeds. He has done very well at these shows.
At his last show, he was the 10 and under Walk/Trot Pleasure Champion and Grand Champion. I have attached a picture of him there. Additionally, I have attached a picture of us sidesaddle at the California Futurity in Pomona. It was a night class, so "we" went formal.
Again, thank you for helping me to rescue this beauty. He is an ambassador for both TIER and Saddlebreds wherever he goes.
Here are photos of Nickers from last year's horse expo, taken by a very nice lady who had heard about him via the web site. I've also included one of Miss P ... may she never experience what Nickers did.
Miss P & Kathy Dunn -
Another Saddlebred Rescue - Impulse
This is what he looked like when he was showing ... the other is from this winter when he was still fuzzy from the thyroid problem. But, it does show you his color and his gorgeous face!
P is much more burgundy ... true chestnut than Nick. But she's a beauty in her own right.
Just a note to give you the latest update on our boy, In the Nick of Time. We are still searching for his papers, but I am bound and determined to find them. But, here's the good news! Nickers is the Northern California American Saddlebred Horse Association HIGH POINT horse of the year for Open shows. This is given to Saddlebreds who are competing in Open (non ASB) shows. Additionally, Nickers is going to be a Saddlebred ambassador yet again. He will be going to EqWest in Del Mar on November 17-19th to be used as the Saddlebred petting horse as well as to participate in all of the ASB demos as a sidesaddle horse. At HorseExpo, we had at least 5 people approach us and tell us that they had heard of his story on TIER's web site. One lady was moved to tears by having seen him "in person." She couldn't believe that it was him ... and when she heard the announcer give out his story, she literally burst into tears.
He is quite the fellow. Mom adores him as do all the children at the riding academy. He is truly what Saddlebreds and horse rescues are all about ... courageous, kind, intelligent, and more than willing to forget his past for a bright and promising future.
Thanks to all who made him possible
Attached is a photo of Nickers and me from Reno. Who says you can't post sidesaddle? and, the look on his face is "Rick, she's making me set my head and I'm not happy about this!" He may not be "hocky" but 1) there's no trailing hocks and 2) this is not a horse anyone should throw away.
anyway, thought you guys might like to see this ...
Well, here is Mr. Nickers at his first AHSA rated show ... showing sidesaddle! Not bad for a "throwaway" Saddlebred! How do you like the action?
After Kathe helped Nickers get healthy, shod, vetted, she had him entered in a show in March 1999. He placed 2nd in his class and 3rd in his class! Not bad for a horse that had been thrown huh?
American Saddlebred rescued by Kathe D. When his new mom removed that tailbag in the picture of Nickers at the feedlot, his tail flowed 2ft. behind him! That's AFTER it hit the ground....2ft. of tail on the ground! My goodness!