A quarter horse stallion named Prince was an important part of our courtship when I first got acquainted with my husband, Richard, back in 1963. Richard was boarding Prince with Jesse Howard, the Sign Painter, at his place on the old Jeff City Road in Fulton. Richard lived in the last house on Nichols Street (near where the covered bridge is now.) And I was lucky enough to live on Second Street about half-way between those two places.
Every afternoon, after he got off work, Richard saddled Prince up and rode him down the hill past my house. I managed to find chores to do in the front yard every afternoon, so he would see me outside and stop to visit. Mama’s flowers got extra weeding that summer, but the climbing roses didn’t do well, because Prince munched on them while we talked.
I was tickled to death when Richard offered to take me for a ride. It was the first time I’d ever been on a horse and even though I hung on for dear life, Prince bounced me off on my butt when he got close enough to see Mr. Howard’s little barn, where he knew a scoop of corn was waiting. I walked the rest of the way, rubbing my behind, and complained to Mr. Howard that the horse threw me.
“Naw, Prince didn’t throw you, girl, you fell off!” He and Richard had a good laugh at my expense, and the old man made sure to remind me of that day every time I saw him.
Even though Prince was a stallion, he was a good, gentle horse. When Richard lived on AA, he sometimes rode him to the Bridge Drive-in in Jefferson City.
After we married, we moved to a farm in the Toledo neighborhood, where Prince had wide green pastures to run in. Sometimes, Richard put one-year-old Kenny on the saddle in front of him, and rode the 8 miles to town to visit his folks.
We’ve had many quarter horses since then, but no other horse was as much a part of the family as Prince.