Fayette County horse makes his mark on big stage


This week marks the last days of the 2017 season of “Tecumseh!” in Chillicothe, which this year sported a colorful Fayette County native. In June, “Peppy Lynx,” a 16-hand (64” high), tri-colored Appaloosa horse joined 60-plus human cast and crew members, and an equine herd of 10 in the nightly performances as the outdoor drama’s historical Native American namesake character’s steed.

Born April 28, 2011, at Cloudkicker Farm in Jeffersonville, Peppy Lynx, better know as “Elmo” by family and friends, is no stranger to being a show horse. When he was 5-years-old, the Fayette County bred and born Appaloosa horse showed extensively in the tri-state region qualifying to go to the Appaloosa Horse Club’s World Show in Ft. Worth, Texas. He has also participated in the annual Washington Court House Christmas Parade the past two years with the Heritage Memorial Church contingent, and plans to be in it again this winter.

This summer, Elmo has left his hoofprints on a different kind of stage of the sandy Sugarloaf Mountain outdoor amphitheater, showing his versatility as a show horse “of a different color” in Chillicothe. The spotted war horse’s dark heavily spotted leopard coat is easily seen on stage among the “Tecumseh!” cast of actors and 10 horses, four of them Appaloosas, in the epic outdoor drama now wrapping up its 45th season.

While the horses are not a major part of the story, the impact their presence on stage makes is an outdoor theater bonus, as is the amphitheater setting which surrounds the audience on three sides drawing them into the story enacted all around them. Audience members are often startled as gunfire erupts, or hand-to-hand combat or raucous dancing fills the stage. Just as intriguing are the quiet reflective moments, and sometimes even laughter at the wrong moment can be generated by the unpredictable four-hoofed actors.

“Tecumseh!” is the story of the historical Shawnee war chief who nearly succeeded in unifying all Native American tribes from across the nation during a 10-year period in an attempt to drive out the whites in the early years of America. The visionary Shawnee, Tecumseh (1786 – 1813), was a passionate speaker and a bold defender of Native American rights. This is the last week of the 2017 season as the show will close with a special Sunday Closing Night performance, Sept. 3.

The 6-year-old horse’s birth in 2011 was overseen by his owner, Sylvia Cloud, a member of the local Ohio Appaloosa Association club and a former actress at “Tecumseh!”.

“He presented without any complications – his dark hooves, then nose, was soon followed by solid dark shoulders. Then, as he got halfway out, the sight of his white spotted back and hips was like Christmas.” reminisces Cloud. “I think of Appaloosa foals like a wrapped Christmas present with a special beautiful bow on top! You just don’t know what color or pattern they will be, but, oh! How I love the surprise!”

His dam, Shadow Cowgirl, a 15 hand, 80 percent foundation few spot bay Appaloosa from the Kelo Connection bloodline, and his sire, Otto Rockette, a 14.2 hand Doc Bar bred chestnut Quarter Horse, produced this 16-hand “loud, in your face” Appaloosa characteristics in the colt whose breed is best known for spotted coat patterns. He also bore the breed characteristics of the white seen around the eye (sclera); mottled (spotted) skin in the hairless regions of face and rear; striped hooves; and a sparsely haired “rat-tail.” While the tail trait is not widely appreciated, it makes a distinctive trademark in the horse world.

His early training began at 3-years-old. He was started under saddle by Sylvia’s husband, David Cloud, both of whom have deep roots with the outdoor drama where they were both actors from 1978 – 1981, and also assistant equestrians when they met in 1980 and married.

In 2014, Elmo was put in trainer Dave Phillips’ (Louisville, Ky.) program after a hilarious conversation that confused “riding a leopard” into an arena full of less colorful Quarter Horses, with “wearing leopard leotards” into the arena. Under the National Reined Cow Horse Association World Champion rider/trainer’s individualized attention, the “gah-lumping goof-ball” as lovingly called by Cloud, found a new speed, and a new enjoyment of herding cattle. Phillips’ experience and determination with his first Appaloosa student brought out the depth of potential within those spotted hindquarters, and in a year the big fella was ready for a run for the Appaloosa World.

The summer of 2015, the 5-year-old horse and his riders set out on a mission…qualify for the World Show with the Junior Working Cowhorse class as the goal. The road to get there took “Team Elmo” from Kentucky to Indiana, and Tennessee seeking the cowhorse-specialty ApHC class offered at very few shows, which is specifically comparable to the NRCHA Bridle class that Phillips already had excelled in. While at the shows, Phillips also entered the big Appaloosa horse in various cow classes, and Sylvia entered him in a wide spectrum of other discipline classes – Trail, Halter, and Hunter Under Saddle. It was then that Elmo’s willingness to do whatever asked, as well as ability to perform was realized, and the possibilities for a stout horse unafraid of any beast on four feet seemed endless

In October of 2015, he and trainer Phillips did their reining pattern, then boxed, fenced, and circled their steer for a third place finish in the World Show’s intense Jr. Working Cow Horse performance class, at the Will Rogers Memorial Arena in Ft. Worth, Texas. He also took home a 12th place claim to the 2015 World’s Non-Pro Most Colorful.

There are still many new events and obstacles this big, colorful horse has yet to be introduced to. Elmo is licensed with the American Ranch Horse Association and actively showed during the 2016 season in Ranch Cutting, Ranch Roping, Ranch Reining, Ranchmanship, and Ranch Trail. He is known to jump, and being strong enough to pull a wagon and moving cows has additional competition opportunities in both Ranch Horse and ApHC, so his years ahead are sure to be full of interesting adventures. He has a Facebook page to share his adventures since the Ft. Worth show for friends who came to follow the “Elmo – Making People ‘Appy all over the World.”

This week, Elmo offers a “personal invitation” to anyone who enjoys theater, American and Ohio history, horses, or simply being outdoors to go to see the epic outdoor drama “Tecumseh!” this final week of the 2017 show. Located at 5968 Marietta Road, Chillicothe, Ohio, performances are nightly at 8 p.m. through closing night, Sunday, Sept. 3. Order tickets online at www.tecumsehdrama.com or call the box office at (740) 775-0700.

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Peppy Lynx (left) has also participated in the annual Washington Court House Christmas Parade the past two years with the Heritage Memorial Church contingent, and plans to be in it again this winter.
http://www.recordherald.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/27/2017/08/web1_15167578_716259421871549_3597637198950467896_o.jpgPeppy Lynx (left) has also participated in the annual Washington Court House Christmas Parade the past two years with the Heritage Memorial Church contingent, and plans to be in it again this winter.

“Peppy Lynx,” a Fayette County native Appaloosa horse, can be seen on stage in the production of “Tecumseh!” in Chillicothe.
http://www.recordherald.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/27/2017/08/web1_19074645_10214023602843033_575292792_o.jpg“Peppy Lynx,” a Fayette County native Appaloosa horse, can be seen on stage in the production of “Tecumseh!” in Chillicothe.

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