My turn: Ponies are just angels with hooves

For 28 consecutive years, the pony show at the Roosevelt County Fair has included a fuzzy dark buckskin named Leroy, shown by two generations of Joan and Richard Orcutt's family, and familiar to pretty much anyone in the county who owns a saddle.

Leroy died this week at the age of 33 1/2, quite a run for a "one in a million pony" who was bought from the Portales Livestock Auction for $154, according to Joan.

Leroy safely raised the five Orcutt daughters, and a slew of grandchildren as well.

Kid horses are angels with hooves, and the Orcutts know that. While he was a "little ornery when they bought him, Joan said he was never mean. "If the kids were on Leroy, I never worried. They could go all day long and he'd take care of them."

Leroy's death this week reminded me of the kid horses who raised my brothers and me: Geronimo, who came to us as an old horse and survived to ancient because he knew how much we needed him, and Frosty, who made sure my calf-roping brother always had a safe ride.

Happy trails, Leroy. Don't shy from that circle of gold up there. It's your halo.

Betty Williamson will save her conniving pony stories for another column. You may reach her at

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