Bottom Right Photo: Jody Smith, Dr. Smith, Jerry Hartley, Fritz Bookman
I first met Jerry on June 4, 2013. He came to my barn office to interview for Dr. Smith's biography. Jody (Smith) was there, too. Jerry and Jody spent hours reminiscing about farm calls, surgeries, endurance rides, trail rides, horses, and life with Dr. Smith. Jerry, like Dr. Smith and his family, is a horseman. At one time, he stabled over 20 mares, along with an award-winning AQHA stallion.
Jerry's horse stories are the best - one of my favorite stories is about Junco, the beautiful white New Forest Pony who was the prize stallion of two sisters from Rockbridge, Ohio, but destined to become the star of Milliron Farm. Jerry tells the story best...
A man from Rockbridge purchased New Forest Ponies directly from England. He had the only herd of New Forest Ponies in the United States at the time. The man died and left his ponies to his two daughters.
Junco, one of their stallions was up for sale. When I went to see Junco, the sisters told me he was a bit wild and sometimes difficult. The sisters were surprised when Junco loaded right into my trailer without any hesitation.
I had the stallion for several months when a woman from Canada called and said she wanted to buy Junco. I sent her pictures and agreed to sell him to her. The Canadian woman came to see Junco and she really liked him. He was a beautiful horse. The woman said she did not like Junco's mane, his tail was not perfect, and his hooves were not right.
Well, the woman was trying to convince me that Junco was not worth the price I was asking. I was upset; Junco was perfect the way he was and for the woman to degrade the stallion in that manner was unacceptable! The woman went up to my house to get a cup of coffee. I picked up the phone and called Dr. Smith. "Pete, what are you doing tomorrow? Set me up an appointment to castrate Junco."
The woman overheard my conversation with Pete. She said, "No! I want to buy Junco the way he is!"
I said in a loud voice to her, "Ma'am, I have never sold a horse that bad to anybody in my life, and I'm not going to sell it tonight!"
The next day, I took Junco to Pete for castration. I gave Junco to Jody that day. Jody broke Junco to pull a cart. She will tell you that Junco was one of the best horses she ever had.
Jody and Junco spent many hours together through Milliron Farm and the surrounding trails. The team placed third in the Senior Division of the Ohio State Trail horse championship when Junco was 28 years old. He lived to be 35.
I can't wait to visit with Jerry again. So many horse stories. All over coffee with Jerry.
Do you have a story about Dr. Smith and Milliron Farm/Clinic? Send me an email firstname.lastname@example.org!