Anyone who has every been to F.M. Light & Sons knows about Lightning. But, do you know his history? Do you know how old he is?
We’ll let him tell it:
“Mabelene, that filly who spreads all the gossip, insists something wild is going to happen in our stable. In anticipation I can hardly manage to hold my head high and not lend an ear to that gossipy woman of a horse. She has heard there is someone coming to buy one of us and whoever it is will become famous. She thinks it will probably be her because, in her opinion, she is the prettiest of all of us as she prances around delivering her rumor.
This very nice cowboy type man came to Western Fiberglass Horse Barn where many other fiberglass horses and I were standing. Most of thehorses were pinto ponies or Appaloosa. I was the only quarter horse in the bunch. Well, it just so happened this fellow was looking for a quarter horse to place on the sidewalk in front of his long established cowboy store. He said he thought people, especially people from other states and countries, would enjoy seeing a cow pony on the sidewalk. He planned to place a hand-stamped leather, western saddle on the horse over a wool saddle blanket made by the Navajo Indians. Then he would add a bridle with reins so people would see what fittings are necessary for riding a cowboy horse in the west. This man looked at every one of us very thoroughly. I could tell he knew a great deal about horses and he studied each one’s stance and the looks in each pair of eyes. I heard him briefly say he liked the color of my coat and that he had a horse about the same color as me which he rode when he went fishing up Soda Creek. I think the thing cinching his decision to take me home with him was because I looked the most authentic.
When my new owner hoisted me into the horse trailer for the drive home, he said to me, “my name is Mr. LIght and I’m naming you ‘Lightning’ after me.” My, I was a happy quarter horse!
The trip to my new home in Steamboat Springs was an eye-popping one! We traveled over two very high mountain passes; almost two hundred miles of highway I had never seen before. The scenery whizzed by very fast but it didn’t matter a whole lot to me because the little place between the slats in the horse trailer didn’t lend itself to seeing very much.
Mr. Light had arranged to have a sturdy wooden base built for me to stand on and this platform was ready for me when we arrived home. It fit me perfectly. The stand had rollers on it so I would be rolled out of the cowboy store early each morning and rolled back into the store each evening. During the day, I got to stand and watch the antics of people up and down Lincoln Avenue.
My favorite time was when small children came up to me and asked their parents if they could ride me. These kids seemed to think I was a real horse. After their parents lifted them into my saddle they would say, “giddyup.” Of course, I couldn’t go anyplace, but they pretended as though I did. Their paretns would take pictures of their children riding me. Mr. Light’s store has received hundreds of pictures of people, large and small, riding me. The backs of the pictures carry remarks about how much they enjoyed their visit to Steamboat and to my owner’s store and their ride on LIghtning.
Mr. Light, who bought me, passed away some years ago and one of his daughters and her husband owned me for awhile. Now I belong to their sons. You see, I’ve been in the family for over 60 years. Wouldn’t Mabelene kick up her heels if she knew that?
Yes, I’ve had a couple of new coats of paint, as my old coat became shabby with so many people crawling over me. I’ve also had several new saddles and bridles. They do wear out but I just keep standing around enjoying the many visitor s and locals in our town. I especially enjoy the Fourth of July when we celebrate the birth of our nation. I always get a special place to ride in the parade as they put me on a flatbed truck and decorate me with red, white and blue bunting. Real cowboys walk along beside me and do I ever feel special! Steamboat Springs is a wonderful place to live. I’m so happy the owner of F.M. Light & Sons chose me to come be a part of his large family.”
Written by Brandon Lockhart (Great-Grandson of F.M. Light, and Annabeth Light, Grand-Daugther of F.M. Light).
We have a gallery of kids on Lightning – view it and share your photos with us below!
Brandon, except for the fabricated talking horse bit, this should be an authentic account of the iconic”Lightening”. Your collaborator has impeccable credentials for source material. I never had the opportunity to sit astride Lightening but my two sons have. Hopefully old Lightening will have several more rejuvenations, something we mortals are not able to do. Thanks for a piece of history well written.
Thank you Brandon and Annabeth, how entertaining and interesting to learn a new peice of history of the LOCKHART FAMILY ROOTS. WISHING YOU MANY MORE YEARS LIGHTNING!
Thank you for your comments, Ray and Jerry! We love to hear back from our customers. We’re glad to hear that you appreciate his presence in downtown, and enjoy letting your kids ride him. We’re excited to have him around for many more generations to come!