(Town Crier photo/Revis Blaylock)
Dalton Hitchcock, 7, is following in his dad's cowboy boots when it comes to his love of horses. He is the son of Brad and Paige Hitchcock of Manila.
Dalton has been helping his dad feed and care for their horses all his life. He doesn't even mind helping when it comes to cleaning the stalls.
Dalton accompanied his dad on their first trip to the Mid America Equine Sale in Tulsa, Okla., on Feb. 2-3. It is a large sale held four times a year. In February 350 head of horses were sold. Horses at the sale were reigning and cutting performance horses used for working cattle or show.
"We saw horses sell from $5,000 to $45,000. It is an elaborate sale," Hitchcock said.
They were not going to buy a horse, they went to sell one. They had no idea they would be bringing a new horse back home to Manila.
"At every sale the owners of Mid America buy a yearling colt and give it away to one of the children attending the sale," Hitchcock said. "They had all of the children age 12 and under raise their hand. Someone asked Dalton if he could feed a horse and then told him he was the lucky winner of Hot Dodger, Number 224 in the sale book."
Hitchcock said he was busy with his horses and did not even know Dalton had won a horse until he had signed the papers. Hot Dodger is registered with Dalton as the owner.
Dalton had one horse of his own but was excited about having another. The Hitchcocks have six head right now but have had as many as 12. Two new babies are going to be born this year.
Dalton knows the family horses are to keep and the others may be sold. He can tell you about different markings and personalities of each one of their horses.
Dalton's new horse should be broke this year and maybe ready to show the next year.
"It takes a couple of years to get one ready for show," Hitchcock said. "I want to feel comfortable about the horse before I let Dalton show it."
Dalton, like his dad, enjoys going to horse shows and rodeos. He plans to compete in barrels and poles this year with his horse named Penney. This will be his first year to show and he is looking forward to it.
Hitchcock was a team roper and enjoyed participating in rodeos for several years.
Mrs. Hitchcock had horses growing up and also enjoys having the horses. Dalton's little sister Madison,____, also enjoys being outside watching the horses.
The horses are a family hobby. The Hitchcocks built their new home off Highway 77 purchasing six acres so they would have room for the horse barn and pasture. They have a round pin for riding. They also stall a few horses for others.
"Horses take a lot of care and attention but it is something we enjoy," Hitchcock said. "Any kids who want to come out and enjoy our horses are welcome to stop by. A lot of kids don't have a chance to see a horse close up."