UP CLOSE WITH JEANIE
Whatz up babies?
Have you ever seen this man with his horses and carriage traveling throughout our fair city? Well, I have and it’s a beautiful sight to see. To me, the service that he provides to the people is simply unique because it’s another opportunity for anyone to feel as special as you truly are as we travel on our journey of love. It brings joy, beauty, happiness, excitement and some peace of mind. So on that note, it pleases me to bring to you the man that’s making it all possible and this is what he has to say.
“Hello Frost Illustrated readers. My name is Will Stevenson and I’m the owner of Rockaway Carriage, which is a carriage operation business that provides carriage rides for people. It’s for all occasion’s such as weddings, anniversaries, personal rides, kids carnivals, parades, pleasure rides and things of that nature, plus we do funerals.
“Having this carriage ride business and working with my horses is my passion, it’s just in me and I like having this as my career better than anything else and I go wherever I’m called. I’ve been in all the Tri-States and most of the major cities in the Tri-States. But in Fort Wayne, most of the rides consist of a downtown ride and most start at the Gashouse Restaurant because that seems to be the most favorable spot. Then we go through the West Central neighborhood unless somebody set up something special, but I’ve been in all neighborhoods of the city.
“Rockaway Carriage, is not a seasonal business, we’re open all year round and I especially love the winter time because things are different even during my everyday work with the horses. As far as, my fee, it differs because distance means something. Sometimes I might have a 15-minute job but it might take me four hours to get to that 15 minutes, so it varies and it’s kind of hard to put a price tag on it. When it comes to weddings, that varies too because I’ve done that in all kind of ways, I’ve brought people to the weddings and that was it. I’ve brought them to the wedding, stayed until the wedding was over and then took them to the reception hall. But, our main thing is, it’s done however they want it to be done because our motto is, we aim to please and satisfaction is guaranteed or your money back.
“But just say for example, if I was going downtown tonight and I had an appointment at 6 p.m., I would start getting ready about 4:30 p.m., even though it might not take that long. I do this because it’s not fun for me or the horses if I have to rush since what I do takes patience. And, actually the horses doesn’t like you rushing them and moving real fast and they also don’t like it if you move slow either. They want it to be smooth and you learn that over the years. Just like, if I’m going to get them, I don’t run over there real fast, I take my time. Even if I’m reaching for them, I don’t reach real fast, it’s an art and you don’t learn that overnight. But once you get it, it’s almost like a sixth sense and when you really get connected with horses, sometimes I can make them move with my mind. Especially when I’m harnessing them up and they’re standing crooked, I can just think them straight and they’ll move straight. So I take my time with them because that’s enjoyable for all of us.
“However, the photo you see here with me all dressed up in the carriage looking fine and the horses looking fine, that’s not the real story. The real story is, you see a guy out there in the barn cleaning stalls, fixing the fence, throwing hay, loading up sawdust and it’s every day and some days, it’s all day, every day. I wouldn’t say that the work is hard and I wouldn’t say it’s easy either, it’s demanding because of the time I put in, more so than anything.
“I got my start with horses when I was a kid because my uncle had a horse right here in the same neighborhood that I’m living in now and so I grew up around them. So, off and on, I’ve been doing this all of my life. And, I can remember riding my uncle’s horse, Dan, down the street or driving him down the street with the wagon. I can also remember my uncle telling and showing me how to do different things and that just got my passion for horses going. It was just one of them things in the family, all the boys kind of grew up helping out on the wagon it was kind of one of our first jobs.
“Most horses are willing partners but it takes a lot of patience and time to do this. The work doesn’t have anything to do with the patience. The patience is training them and when I talk about the work, I’m talking about the commitment. I remember once when I didn’t have a fence and one of my horses got out and took a stroll through town. But, as a rule, they stay where they’re suppose to be. Right now they’re out in the pasture eating grass but normally when I bring them in they have hay, grain and different little supplements to keep them healthy. Actually, just before you got here, Jeanie, the veterinarian had come, wormed them, checked them out and gave them a clean bill of health, even though, I already knew they’re healthy because they drink a lot of water and I love to see that because that’s my confirmation.
“My horses are registered Morgan horses and the Morgan horse is a product of America. I would say, if America had to have a horse for a symbol, they would have to have the Morgan breed and they started here in this country over 200 years ago. They’re one of the most versatile horses you could run across. You can ride him, drive him, work him in the fields and you can show him. They’re also jumpers and they contributed a lot to this Country during the civil war and all the other wars.
“My favorite horse is named Tosh and he’s 34 years old and he kind of put me on the map. He’s retired now but I used him until he was about 28 years old. Now I have a horse named Mountain Boy, he’s 14 year old and I had him since he was about eight months, he’s from Boston. Then there’s Wilcox, he’s 10 years old and I had him since he was 14 months and he’s from Boston as well, they both came from the same farm. And the baby in the family is Lex. He’s five years old and I had him since he was two. I actually traveled to Boston to get them and took my daughter and my granddaughter. We had a wonderful time.
“I trained all of my horses myself, with some help from different people and their advice. One thing about the Morgan horse is, they love to do shows and parades but anytime you get them out, it’s a show. It’s just the nature of this type of horse and when I harness them up they know, it’s show time. Even if I’m just going for a pleasure ride. It’s just the characteristics of their breed, they’re a proud horse and they know it and they have more personality than the average horse. If there’s another horse that’s standing beside the Morgan horse, you can tell the Morgan horse have more personality and a sense about themselves. And, I know I’ll hear a lot from other horse owners when they read this spotlight but their horses just don’t have the characteristics as these and I’m prepared for their calls. I’ll have fun with it and hopefully they will too because they know that I‘m telling the truth.
“Anyone that see’s my horses while they’re out in the pasture might think, these horses just look good because they’re the only horses that’s here. But, I take them around other people’s horses and they look at them and believe it or not, some girls kiss them, really. They’re just that enticing.
Another characteristic about Morgan horses is, they aim to please. It’s just bred in them over the years, more so, than another type of horse. Do I want to say, they love their work? I’m not going to say that, I’m going to say, they don’t mind it because they’d rather be over there messing around with their other buddies. Some people may say that their horses love to jump but I disagree. Because if you were to put a lot of bars around them to jump, that horse might walk around every one of them, since he don’t want to get off of his feet and do all that jumping and coming down like that. But if you get on him and make him jump, he’ll jump because he’s trying to please his owner.
“So know you know what I do and if you’d like a carriage ride, I’m easy to get in contact with. My phone number is (260) 422-4846 and my cell is (260) 442-4323 so give me a call for a ride on the town. The more advance notice that I’m given is always better but sometimes you can get me on the spur of the moment. Actually, I like that better, because I’m just a care free guy and I don‘t care to be tied up or something. So you can contact me anytime because Rockaway Carriage is here to please.”
Now in closing I say, Wow! Thanks Will for sharing what you do with us because I had so much fun learning about your passion and learning about Morgan horses. And, the show you had them put on for me was awesome and I’m so proud of you for making this beauty available to all of us. So until next week, you’ve been up close with Jeanie. Bye, bye babies.
P.S. If you would like The Spotlight shined upon you or someone that you know, all in the name of love, just send me an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to hear from ya.
This article originally appeared in the Oct. 9 print edition.