I took last Saturday off from my usual weekend horse pursuits, the better to attend a large outdoor antiques fair in an eastern Washington farm town. Afloat in a sea of decidedly non-equine items, I wasn't thinking about horses at all--until I spotted the memento of some other horse person's big achievement.
There, perched on a shelf between green Fire King mugs and an "Ozzie & Harriet" lunchbox, was a first-place trophy from the 1979 National Appaloosa Show in Louisville, Kentucky. Price tag: $10. I had to have it. Not only did I grow up in a family that was passionate about showing Appaloosas, I also started my career with a job at the Appaloosa Horse Club's breed journal. I knew, better than most of those thronging the antiques fair, just how coveted that trophy would've been in certain circles.
As I paid the dealer for this treasure, she mentioned that she'd found the item at a yard sale in a small town not far from ApHC headquarters in Moscow, Idaho. "It was in a box with a bunch of other Appaloosa trophies," she said. "The box had a lot of hay flakes in it, so I'm guessing it spent some time stored in someone's barn. But
that's all I can tell you about it."
The trophy will soon have a more glamorous home, as part of an exhibit at the Appaloosa Museum & Heritage Center in Moscow. Once I take my donation to the museum, it'll be one of very few National Appaloosa Show trophies to be displayed with the breed's other artifacts. Although thousands of such trophies have been awarded over the show's six decades, most never leave the families that won them and took them home. Instead, they reside in personal places of honor reserved for once-in-a-lifetime memories.
I wish I knew whose trophy this was. There's got to be a story there.