Letter to the Editor

Remembering 'Big Red'

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Stephen Spielberg's new movie, War Horse, stirs up memories for me now in 2012.

Dec. 7, 1941, Pearl Harbor was bombed by Japan. The cavalry division of the Colorado State Guard was activated. I have documents signed by Gov. John Vivian and Gov. Lee Knous of Colorado stating that my father, Ted Hancock, served in the cavalry division until April 1947.

My fondest wish was to own my very own horse, or at least to ride one regularly. I saw the one I wanted, traveling down 16th street in Denver. My dad, Ted Hancock, was in the cavalry division and riding him as the flag bearer.

I was a dreamy-eyed 10-year-old watching the parade from the third floor of the Majestic Building, where my father's office was located.

Big Red seemed to be born to be horse carrying a flag in a parade. He was a long-legged large sorrel gelding with a white blaze, owned by Col. Thomas Wilson.

The Colorado State Guard was modernized in 1947 and the cavalry was disbanded. Big Red was put out to graze and enjoy the warm spring weather.

He was pampered like some of his blue-blooded English ancestors. Then, Col. Wilson lost his battle with cancer.

A new home was found for Big Red at Flying G Ranch (the Denver Girl Scout Camp) on the edge of Pike National Forest.

I was active in the Girl Scout movement and rode him every summer until 1954, when I graduated from the University of Denver and got married.

I saw Big Red one last time in 1955. He was feeling poorly and being seen by a vet.

At age 19, he went to the big meadow in the sky.

I've ridden other horses over the years, but there will never be another Big Red. The 13 years I knew Big Red are cherished memories.

Helen Ruth Arnold,

Trenton, Nebraska

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