‘Flash’ can still compete

Despite Flash’s relative lack of size, the 20-year-old horse has been doing rodeos since before his rider, 7-year-old Brogan Macy, was born. (CNJ staff photo: Sharna Johnson)

By Eric Butler: CNJ correspondent

Twenty-odd years ago, Flash the basset hound was a regular on the original TV series, The Dukes of Hazzard. Right around that time, another Flash was making his was into the world of Eastern New Mexico rodeos.

And just as the low-to-the-ground basset hound spends his life looking up to many other dogs, this Flash — a horse — was destined to spend his life dwarfed by bigger horses.

But in 2005, at the High Plains Junior Rodeo Association finals, Flash is still around — and still competing for a piece of rodeo glory, just like horses many years younger and several feet taller.

“He’s always been kind of a tough little snot. I mean, he’s a goer,” said Gary Armitage, who first acquired the horse for his daughter Kenna to use at rodeos such as the HPJRA events. “He’s always been really good for little kids.”

Barely four feet tall at the top of his head, Flash was ridden by Kenna and Kodi Armitage until they outgrew the little pony. The Macy family from Post, Texas, then bought Flash from the Armitages, who live near Elida.

On Wednesday morning, seven-year-old Brogan Macy and Flash competed in the 8-&-under poles division. Although Flash knocked down the first pole, he regained his composure and finished the ride in 29.035 seconds, including a time penalty for the initial miscue.

Afterward, Macy shed a few tears of disappointment and Flash breathed heavily from the run. Although neither the Armitage or Macy families are sure how old Flash is, guesses generally center on the 20-year mark.

And 20-year-old horses aren’t the norm at rodeos, much less horses so diminutive in size.

“I like it. He’s fun and he’s easy to get on,” said Brogan Macy, who said her fellow competitors often took special interest in Flash. “They want to ride him a lot, because he’s so little.”

Flash isn’t just a sideshow curiosity, however. He’s escorted many young rodeo competitors to victory against his much bigger counterparts.

“He’s a little horse, but with a lot of power. He’s a big horse in a little horse’s body is what he is,” said Mike Macy, Brogan’s father. “He’s a really good horse and raised a lot of these High Plains kids. We bought him about five years ago and my son, Aaron, rode him for the first couple of years and she (Brogan) has ridden him the last three years.

“He’s been to more High Plains rodeos than probably anybody here,” Mike Macy added.

And just like a little determined cowboy, Flash doesn’t take any guff from the bigger horses. He’s cute, sure, but out to show who’s boss at times.

“He’s a tough little son-of-a-gun. The bigger horses, they would hardly ever get him whipped. He would get after them — he had no problems with that,” said Gary Armitage, recalling Flash’s younger days. “He’s really smart. It seems like a lot of them (bigger horses) will try to pick on him. He would just get ’em before they got the idea plum out of their heads.”