The Adventure of a Horse Tattoo

So, I was thinking about getting a Horse Tattoo.
When many people think of horses and tattoos, they think of the replacement for a “brand”. In other words, the tattoo is a way of marking the horse to show ownership. That is not what I am thinking of when I talk about horses and tattoos.
To the surprise of some, I have a tattoo. To make a long story short, I had a trailer hitch fall on me and and crush my left foot. In an instant, I was transformed from the runner of the year in my area, to someone that was told would end up in a wheel chair and that I would never run again. I was told that amputation was what would be the normal outcome. I told  my Doctor that that was not for me and that I believed through faith and hard work, I would do Ironman. He said I did not know my own limitations and that I would never make it. I told him he was right on the first thing, but wrong on the second. I did it in 13 hours 35 minutes. Then I did it again 4 minutes faster. I got the finishers tattoo. Google the Ironman symbol and you will see it. It is on my left calf behind the foot that was crushed.M-Dot

It reminds me to never give up. It also seems to encourage people as they pass me in human endurance events who then invariably say as they pass, “Hey are you REALLY an Iron Man?”


After having achieved what a non insane middle aged person could reasonably expect to do in Ironman that had a life outside the sport, I turned to long distance equine endurance racing. I fell in love with it. I used the training protocols and tools that I learned and developed to train for Ironman and Marathons on horses. I used those tools  on gaited horses.  It worked. In fact, it worked past my wildest dreams.


I have this one Tennessee Walking Horse named Kate. I love this mare. She is very sweet to me, but not so much to other humans and can be quite nasty to our other horses. I can call her and she catches me. Often times, she kisses me. Really, I am not kidding, you can ask Sandy. You may be thinking I am making this up. So did she, until she saw it happen. I think she might have been jealous. Actually Sandy and Kate seem to be jealous of each other when it comes to me.
By the way, my two top mares don’t like each other very much.  They seem to have a disagreement over the pecking order thing.
Kate does endurance at the 50 and 100 mile distance. She is a beast at these events and only wants to go and to please me. I can’t always say the exact same thing about Sandy.  But, I digress. Kate is the only TWH to have taken first or Best Condition in a 100. She has done both of those things. In fact she has finished first in two different 100 mile endurance events.

So, I thought about getting a second tattoo. I thought about getting a tattoo of Kate. I “trotted” out a trial balloon a few years ago. Everyone in my family laughed and rolled their eyes. It seemed they thought Papa Keith had lost it.  About every 6 months I brought up again.  You know, the male ” I can wear them down if I talk about this enough” thing.
I do a bizarre and marginally obsessive workout regimen called “Cross Fit”. It features extremely  young people repeated hurling weights over their heads and  throwing themselves onto the ground. They call me the “Masters Mascot”.  Many of them, of both sexes, sport spiffy tattoos. Naturally, this made me think about my some more about a Kate tattoo. By the way,, if you want something heavy picked up a lot of times give me a call. Don’t call about hay though, I am allergic to it.

Sandy asked me what I wanted for Christmas. I told her the usual, “nothing, I have you and everything I want” response.  I usually mean this. However, I admit I did have the horse tattoo in the back of my mind.  She pressed me. I finally admitted I wanted a Kate tattoo.

Much to my glee, and surprise, she agreed.  My son and daughter tried to intervene. My daughter just screamed “NO!!!” all the way from Seattle. Her husband, whom I love very much has a wonderful dry wit. He sent me a picture of “my little pony”.
My son started a face book page that he called, “People for the ethical treatment of horse likenesses.”

My daughter in law said she wanted to watch me get the tattoo if it hurt a lot. Funny girl she is.

    My sister in law, Patty,  suggested a squirrel tattoo. 1215441410235483012lemmling_Cartoon_squirrel.svg.hi    Have I mentioned how much my family loves and supports me?

We take a lot of pictures and make movies off the horses which I turn into horse music videos because, well, just because. People seem to like them or at least thousands of people click on them when I post them on YouTube.

I talked to the tattoo artist I chose and she told me none of my existing pictures did the trick for her. My friend, David Kalhok is our best photographer on the trail and he took several pictures of me and Kate   burning up the trail together. Everyone in the group thought I was working on another article. Nope, I was working on a Kate tattoo.  I settled on this picture.kate1


On the appointed hour I showed up very fatigued from a rigorous evening of hurling weights over my head and throwing myself onto the ground at CrossFit. You know, fatter people should get extra credit for pull ups don’t you think?  I was, in fact, a little nervous and thought about backing out.  Not being the quitter type,  I charged ahead and went right in the brightly lit tattoo emporium.
A sign on the front door said “cash only”, “no smoking” and something about liking guns. Okay I thought, “this sounds perfect, let the skin mutilation begin.”
The artist was a lovely woman everyone said was the “bomb” in our area for artistic tattooing named Becky.


She had on a “My little Pony” shirt. Really, she did. I almost fell over. I commented on it and what my kids had suggested about my getting a “my little pony” tattoo.  She said, “You mean like mine?” She pointed at her neck. No fooling, Becky had a “little pony tattoo on her neck.  This was getting really, really funny. I started to wonder if my kids were setting me up somehow. I thought maybe I was on “Candid Camera.”

I got the tattoo on my right calf.

It hurt. In fact, it hurt a lot. Ouch for an hour. A day later, the pain is almost gone. The swelling is going down and I have quit bleeding.

I have a lovely tattoo that I am quite pleased with I  and am very glad that I  have it. I think you need to get them refreshed every 14 years. I will be in my 70s then.

So, if you think of tattoo and a horse in the future, don’t necessarily think about it being a substitute for a brand on your horse. You can get a brand on you of your horse. I cant wait to show Kate. I think she will like it.
Kate tattoo


I do.


Shawnee Sunrise Farm


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