samson face Samson Remembered

Samson died of colic Monday night, May 5, 2008. Samson was a 20 year old giant-sized Percheron and he had been on the decline over the last few months, troubled with stiffness, diminished coordination, and weight loss. So I guess you could say, it was his time to go. But it's a sad time, anyway. Samson has long been the Windy Ridge Ranch mascot -- a symbol of equine majesty, terrific strength, and gentle kindness.

For his entire 20 yearsSamson lived a wonderful life at the Windy Ridge Ranch. Samson and his dam, Heather, used to give wagon and sleigh rides as a hard working, heavy pulling team. After Heather died, Samson spent some time in riding lessons and in the leasing program, and for the last ten years has mainly enjoyed light exercise and the occasional showing off of his one trick: on command, Samson would lie down and stay down, waiting for the command to get up. This was pretty impressive for a horse that weighed 2,500 pounds. He would perform this trick for half a handful of grain or even a few baby carrots. He would usually do it just on a voice command, but he also had another cue which was a tap on the shoulder with a whip. One of the funniest days in WRR history was the day Samson was involved in the ski-jorring race at the annual Valentine's Day fun show. Samson, ridden by Shelley Rapacz, was pulling Jerry Kleffman on skis; but when Samson slowed down considerably while going up the steep hill on the ski-jorring course, Shelley urged him on with a tap of the whip. You guessed it, she tapped his shoulder and Samson performed his trick. He went down and stayed down. When Shelley (and others who ran to help her) tried to get him up, in their excitement they pulled on the top rein, which was actually his cue for staying down, And he stayed down for a long time! Finally the bottomside rein was used and the mighty Samson rose again. The race was lost, but Samson was well-rested.


  samson & sugarfoot samson in a tu tu
Samson's constant partner was Sugarfoot, who misses him very much.
Yes, Samson in a tutu.
Samson usually found the very best nesting for his naps.
On the sly, Samson had another girl friend,
Snowy, shown here following at a discreet distance.
Here's a 2007 photo of Samson giving a triple bareback ride.





More Memories............................



Samson was loved (Emmerson H. Ward)

"All horses are loved at the Windy Ridge, but Samson seemed to always receive a little extra from people and horses alike. 

He was loved by people because he had a sweet and enduring charm.  He always liked a pat on his huge cheek and a hug.  People kind of liked when he would push his way through other horses, people and gates to receive a treat.  I believe that he truly enjoyed that also.

He was loved by the other horses at the ranch, because Samson never abused his power.  With his size and strength he could have easily dominated the herd.  Instead, he was mellow and kind to most other horses.  He never took advantage of his situation.  He was most loved by his late mother, Heather.  I remember as a boy when Heather and Samson were briefly separated -- and by only the horse trough in the barn.  Heather (also being a rather large Percheron) was so upset by not being next to Samson that she leapt the trough just to be next to him.  She was probably one of the only horses to ever accomplish such a feat at the Windy Ridge.  She stood by his side day in and day out until she passed away.

Samson was Windy Ridge's premier showcase novelty item.  The late pony Zip is probably rolling in his grave with this statement -- sorry Zip; on the one hand you were the only horse to have ever ridden around town inside our old Suburban and you also helped me win my first trophy in egg in spoon (circa 1982), but on the other hand you liked to kick, run kids into fence lines and buck little kids off.  No offense, but Samson was never truly naughty -- or at least he didn't enjoy it like you, old Zip.  Anyway, when Samson and Heather were first acquired, they used to occasionally pull a wagon and a sleigh.  They were draft horses, after all.  That has since gone by the wayside, but Samson found his niche in other things.  He provided the ultimate challenge in the famed rear jump mount.  Although many a folk ended up eating Samson's tail, if you mastered the timing and cleared his rear haunches you were the king of the world.  When I was a kid, it was fun to be goofy while riding Samson -- you could stand on his back while trotting, you could lie down on his back like you were in a couch, and you could try doing handstands on his back.  I think he enjoyed this. Samson was also the ultimate challenge in riding.  If you could (1) get Samson to continuously canter around the ring (without letting him do what he wanted -- namely, stand in the middle of the ring), and (2) prevent Samson from (intentionally?) crushing your foot against the south side of the barn wall, you had mastered riding a horse. 

Samson was a great horse and he deserves to be recognized as one of the great animals at the Windy Ridge -- Brutus, J.R., Buck, Princess, Filly, Ladybird, Champ (the dog), Speed (the cat), Vandy, and Samson."