Victory Run Performance Horses

A small breeding & training operation in SW Ohio.

Heza Fast Traveler

Heza Fast Traveler

Heza Fast Traveler

1997 AQHA Gelding

Hes Sunbars San x Bid For Victory

This is the story of Traveler, my home-bred Quarter Horse gelding. Traveler has been with me since the start. Actually, he has been with me longer…

In 1996, I was working p/t for a riding facility in Dayton, Ohio. Cleaning stalls was my main job, but a perk was I also got paid finders’ fees if I found a horse suitable for the riding lesson program. Since I loved looking at horses for sale, it was a perfect fit. I called about a gelding one time, who turned out to be a great addition to their lesson roster, but the lady also had a 1987 AQHA stallion by Sunbars Sonofagun, Sandmana grandson of Eternal Sun and Sonny Go Lucky with some Hancock splashed in there, and out of a great-granddaughter of Leo with some Chief Tom Cat and even Gold King Bailey in there. You see, I already owned the most awesome bred Top Bidder x Leo Tag mare (Bid For Victory) who was my absolute Forever Horse, and even though we were doing great at a bunch of little local jackpots and playdays, I wanted to breed her.

The price was right on the stud, Sandman, and what was better was his wonderful temperament. He was the best behaved stud ever.

Sandman & RamseyEverywhere I went I heard “what a biiiig gelding” (he was 15.3 and about 1200lbs). I showed him in some WP and HUS classes, because I could get off and walk faster than the sucker would lope, but he was still great. Long story short, Sandman ended up getting hurt and went to live in NC. But I did have the best part of him…

Victory & TravelerOn June 26, 1997, my mare Victory gave birth to a spitting image combination of her and Sandman, an adoreable little sorrel stud colt. His entire first week he couldn’t figure out how to use his legs and he kept “gaiting” like a walking horse, and I kept saying “LOOK! Look how he travels!” and he became the “little traveler”. Playing of his sire’s name, Hes Sunbars San, when I sent in his papers, I was happy to know that my first choice was available – Heza Fast Traveler. Funny thing, it turns out that Traveler, one of the founding fore-fathers of the Quarter Horse breed, just so in fact happens to be a distant relative of his.

After Sandman was hurt, I was hoping to keep Traveler a stud, and it worked out that way for a while. Just like his father, he was one of the sweetest horses, had one of the most even temperaments, and one of the calmest dispositions of any horse I’d been around, let alone a blossoming Stallion. Throughout the years since his birth in 1997, Traveler was with me everywhere I went. When I moved to Wyoming in 1998, the little yearling came with me. When we came back home to Ohio, he wasn’t left behind. (Tho some of you may know the story about Traveler’s half-brother that DID get ‘left behind’ in Wyoming, that’s for another post.) When the family farm got sold a year later and we moved to Jamestown, Traveler made himself at home. Traveler & Victory Christmas 1997He always had a knack for getting out and walking around the place, wherever we were. He didn’t go far, he just wanted to “hang out” with the rest of the humans and check things out. You could always find him getting into places you wouldn’t expect to find a horse. Many a morning I would wake up to find him on our back porch in the little enclosed part just waiting to say “Hi!”, and the sucker LOVED to drink from the birdbath.

I had a million things going on in my life at that time, what with moving to a new city, trying to get the new homestead up and going, going from job to job, all while being a late-teens-early-twenties girl. My goals for starting him got pushed to the back burner, plus he was a late summer baby, and as a 2yo, he was still barely above 14 hands. I didn’t have any reason to push him, so he got to just be a Horse.

Trav’s First RideWhen it was time to break him, there really was nothing to it. I just hopped on and away we went. No rear, no buck, no prob! From there I went on to riding bareback on him a few times, and then with the saddle and a halter, and eventually a bridle and snaffle. I believe he may have been the easiest horse I’ve ever worked with. It was a good thing too, because it was muddy the day I decided that he needed to learn how to be ridden…

However, he stayed Just a Horse for a few years longer.Trav chasing LacerHe loved chasing the dogs. In 2000, I gave birth to a beautiful bouncing boy. Traveler loved to sniff on him. I didn’t ride much before and after, due to him being young and me being pregnant, and then afterwords having a young baby was hectic to this first time mom. And as my son grew older, even though of all the horses I had, Traveler was probably the most trustworthy one of the bunch (to put a child on), I was still being the “responsible mom” and wouldn’t let my boy get on him. Eventually, I came to the realization that being an unproven stud at the age of 6 or 7 wasn’t very desirable (from a marketing/breeding standpoint), even though his blood was great, temperament was fantastic, and confirmation was right on. He just hadn’t DONE anything (important, in the equine industry), so I made the decision to have him gelded. Perhaps he would get calmer (??how could he??) but one thing for sure I could take him places and not have to worry about OTHER people or horses. Even if we were tied up minding our own business and someone else’s horse got lose, provoked a fight, and something happened (remember, horses do kick!), it would be ultimately my responsibility, as the Stallion owner. So in spring of 2005, he was gelded.

Trav 2005 1st Race - Trot

After he healed, I started taking him out and doing more things with him. We went trail riding, and I even took him to a small little barrel race at the 2006 Cedarfest in Cedarville, Ohio.

Trav 2005 1st Race

And finally in the Summer of 2007, I realized my dream when I not only married the love of my life, but I got to ride another love of my life down the lane as Traveler carried me to the “hitchin’ post” in my wedding.

Riding Traveler at my Wedding 7/7/07

However, since the day I had him gelded, I learned that my sweet innocent little boy was a health-related problem child.

In the past 2 years since he was operated on, he’s colicked on me twice (he doesn’t tolerate anesthesia well), has tied-up on me, and now most recently been diagnosed with EPM. We survived lots of things but the EPM has killed us. The photo above was taken on 7/7/2007, and in less than 3 months, he was dragging his back legs, moving stiffly, and just not his normal chipper self. The first vet did some tests but was unsure of what we were dealing with. It wasn’t until I had the second vet come out that Trav received his diagnosis (See our EPM Diary), and then I had to figure out where I was going to come up with the money for treatment. Each box is $700+ and 2 is the minimum recommendation. I’ve been asked be many wonderful kind and giving people how they can help and at the request of a certain family member I am putting a donation button below. If you can help out financially, that’s wonderful. Every little bit helps. But if not, I simply ask that you say a prayer or send good thoughts our way, as Traveler and I need every bit of positivity we can get in order to pull through this.

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