By Frank J. Buchman
When a horse crazy girl marries a motorcycle riding boy, it requires some convincing that the family needs a horse.
That’s the way it was for Susie and Don Jacobs, but the Muscotah couple is now prominently recognized in horse activities.
Showing their horses in northeast Kansas shows, the Atchison County horse enthusiasts have collected many awards since a meager beginning. They are also anxious to volunteer for several horse organizations and events.
“I was always ‘horse crazy’ and wanted a horse more than anything when I was growing up,” Susie admitted.
It was exciting for her when a cousin brought a pony to ride on the farm. “Then when my family moved to Lancaster, I wasn’t able to have a horse,” Susie frowned. “However, my neighbors had horses they’d let me ride even though I’d get bucked off sometimes.”
Greatest fun was having “pretend horseshows” doing every kind of events on the ball diamond roped off like an arena. “We even made our own award ribbons and really enjoyed ourselves. It still wasn’t like having my very own horse,” Susie continued.
After marrying Don the motorcycle enthusiast, Susie finally persuaded him they must have horses. “It took several years, but he finally gave in, and our lives have been so great with horses,” she insisted.
“Although I had an ornery pony as a kid, I really didn’t have any interest in owning horses,” Don clarified.
Yet following Susie’s persistence, Don traded his motorcycle for a horse “to satisfy my wife.” Not unlike many first time horse owners, Don’s purchase didn’t fit what he or Susie wanted or expected.
“I didn’t know anything about riding, and that red roan Quarter Horse called Chico had lots of issues,” Don verified.
Becoming disgusted with their first horse, Don and Susie sold him back to his original owner.
Same story second chapter, a Paint gelding was purchased, and he didn’t work out either. “We had him at a trainer to be a pleasure horse, but he was too spirited for that. So we sold the horse to some area girls who got along good running barrels on him,” Don said.
“Then we got an older well broke dark bay Quarter Horse called Woody who just fit us perfectly,” Susie interrupted. “We finally had a calm gentle horse we could enjoy and show.”
Their son Brandon showed Woody successfully in halter as well as rail and pattern classes. “We were fortunate to have Woody for 15 years,” Susie noted.
In the meantime, they acquired a sorrel blazed face breeding stock Paint mare named Cody’s Legacy which the family showed. “Cody was really good. Brandon showed her in 4-H and local shows as well as the state fair. I was fourth in Western pleasure on Cody at the American Royal in 2008,” Don smiled.
Susie’s first horse of her very own was an Appaloosa called Dream Dancer. “I got him as weanling not even halter broke right off his dam. We borrowed an old trailer and had plenty of trouble just getting Dancer home,” Susie said.
“He turned out to be my pride and joy showing him in showmanship and trail classes. I was really the only one who ever rode Dancer other than when he was at the trainer for a month. It broke my heart when Dancer passed away four years ago at 31-years-11-months-six-days old.”
Susie also has many fond memories of her Virginia Highlander called Gold Nugget who she lost last year.
Still the 11-hands, black with white blanket pony called Thunder provides Susie plenty of enjoyment. “I got Thunder as a two-year-old and now he’s 30,” Susie said. “Brandon rode Thunder and helped train him. I’ve given lots of riding lessons on the pony to many kids around the area.”
Diversified Joe has been a top horse for both Don and Susie. “We got Joe as a yearling and trained him ourselves,” Don said. “Joe is one good son of a gun.”
Shown in halter, showmanship, pleasure, horsemanship and trail, the big sorrel gelding has won every class at one time or another.
“I honestly can’t count all of the awards Joe has won,” Don attempted tabulating. “He earned us the Northeast Kansas Small Area Group (NEKSAG) highpoint 40 and over award the past two years.”
Additionally, Don won the Ray Harrison Highpoint Trophy at Lancaster and NEKSAG yearend pleasure and halter championships two years straight.
With more than his share of problems, PR Tiger Bay is Susie’s next show champion, she declared. “Tiger has had severe tears in his front lower digital tendons requiring considerable medical attention and care,” Susie informed. “I’ve worked tediously with Tiger following all of the doctor’s orders for his complete recovery. He really shows a world of promise for me.”
Living on their 45-acres farm about 22 years, Don is a retired machinist. “But I still work two days a week which is enough. I still have time for my horses, trap shooting and putting up hay,” he said.
With several jobs throughout her life including serving as a babysitter, Susie stays busy fulltime on the farm nowadays. “I have two big gardens and get to work more with the horses,” she said.
Don and Susie are active NEKSAG members while Susie especially enjoys acquiring items for the fundraising auction and yearend awards. “I actually work at it all year. It’s a lot of fun for me helping the club in every way I can,” Susie said.
With outside employment, Brandon doesn’t show horses anymore but continues to be interested and helps with their chores.
Without the slightest grudge Don readily admitted horses provide much more enjoyment than motorcycles ever did. “Horses definitely are good for a person’s body and mind,” Don confirmed. “I plan to keep riding and showing as long as I can get myself up in the saddle.”
Enthusiasm continually bubbling, Susie echoed: “I’m still crazy about everything to do with horses. I love working with them and especially enjoy participating in the shows. I’ll always have horses and show as long as I can.”
Don Jacobs of Muscotah has ridden his sorrel gelding called Joe to collect many horseshow awards throughout northeast Kansas. Susie Jacobs waves from Cody while giving Katie riding lessons on Thunder.
Tiger already has a proven halter show record with Susie Jacobs as she plans to start his performance career this year.