Written by BILL RYAN/Sentinel Farm Editor
Saturday, 23 November 2013 18:18
Childhood dreams - those filled as well as unfilled - remain with some people for a lifetime.
|Tina Bunce with her horse Judah. (Photo: J.D. Pooley/Sentinel-Tribune)
Tina Bunce is one of those. Her childhood dream to own a horse was filled. Though put on the shelf for decades, her equine dream is once again bringing the Bowling Green woman joy in her retirement years.
She owns and shows Paso Fino horses and was recently named the president of the Great Lakes Paso Fino Association. She hosted the fall meeting at her home.
Her horse Judah (officially Maximilliano de Margarita) has done very well under Bunce, winning the champion high point gelding award in 2012 for the region which includes Wisconsin, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Ohio. The pleasure performance horse won many additional awards this year.
Bunce retired from the staff of the College of Musical Arts at Bowling Green State University in September 2010, after more than 30 years of service. She managed what was called the concert office when she began, now named the public events office.
And like many retirees, she finds herself extremely busy in her retirement years, including with the horses.
"I've only been showing for three years and with Judah for two of those. He's remarkable," she said.
"Coming back to horse ownership after 32 years has been an amazing journey for me, and this gelding has truly allowed me to enjoy my retirement and relive much of my childhood."
The Oxford, Mich., native grew up in an area that was known for having "more horses than people." She said there are still numerous horse trails in the area.
"It was a great way to grow up," she said noting her service as a groom for Appaloosa horses.
Her parents granted her wish and she received her first pony at age 7. Her first horse came a couple of years later. Though she maintained that horse through her freshman year in college, logistics forced her to sell him.
Her love of horses never died, she continued to ride from time to time. A 50th birthday gift trip to a Colorado dude ranch from her husband, Mark, lit the fire again to own horses. When she bought her first mare, she did not know it was a Paso Fino.
"I bought my first Paso by accident," she said.
It was a grulla-colored mare, whom she thought was just a small horse, standing 14 hands high. Grulla is often described as a silver, mousy-gray, smoky-blue, or slate-gray color.
Grullas are considered black with a dun gene causing the color to be modified. Judah took longer than most to become his current dappled gray color. The 10-year-old gelding was all black for his first five years.
Paso Fino means "fine step" and the breed is noted for its unique and extremely smooth four-beat gait. She said the Paso's gait features the horse's head up and its chin in.
"Because of the gait, you don't move in the saddle. It is absolutely the smoothest ride," Bunce said.
Jennifer Karnes, of Columbus, Mich., has been a friend, riding instructor and mentor for Bunce in the Paso organization.
"She has come a long way with Judah," Karnes said of her friend. "For someone who has wasn't familiar with the Pasos, she has learned so much."
Bunce admitted to having to relearn how to ride because of the differences. She now has four Pasos including Judah, two mares and a foal which is currently being broke.
Judah earned the nickname of "Houdini" after his escape from his stall at a show in Lansing, Mich. He ventured through downtown Lansing last summer and was rounded up eight miles from the show, unharmed.
Karnes calls Bunce "a natural" noting her many awards, including at least four division point awards in two associations this year with her gelding.
She said Bunce's experience with horses when she was young has a great deal to do with her recent success.
Despite her newfound passion for Paso Fino horses, Bunce has not lost touch with music. She is a professional singer who holds a master's degree in vocal performance from BGSU. She continues to teach privately.
She is classically trained and specializes in oratory arts. She has especially enjoyed performing in the "Messiah" in Toledo.
While singing along with the national anthem recently at a national horse show, her vocal abilities were noticed and she was asked to perform it for the remaining events at the show.
Last Updated on Monday, 25 November 2013 15:48