ShareThis Page
South Hills

Beloved horse known for Brentwood parade appearances remembered in book

| Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2018, 9:51 p.m.
Earl Slowik and his horse, Rebel.
Earl Slowik and his horse, Rebel.
Earl Slowik, 86, sits for a photo with a painting of his horse, Rebel, inside his Pleasant Hills home Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2018. Slowik wrote a book about his adventures with Rebel, who he owned for 34 years until the horse died in 2005. The book,  'Trotting Backwards: The Story of Earl and Rebel,' was released in July and is available on Amazon.
Kristina Serafini | Tribune-Review
Earl Slowik, 86, sits for a photo with a painting of his horse, Rebel, inside his Pleasant Hills home Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2018. Slowik wrote a book about his adventures with Rebel, who he owned for 34 years until the horse died in 2005. The book, 'Trotting Backwards: The Story of Earl and Rebel,' was released in July and is available on Amazon.

Rebel was a brilliant horse.

Just ask his owner, Earl Slowik, 86, of Pleasant Hills, and he’ll tell you with a mix of laugh-out-loud stories and a few tearjerkers.

“I’m telling you, this horse was absolutely intelligent,” said Slowik, who recently published a short book, “Trotting Backwards: The Story of Earl and Rebel,” about his adventures with the horse who became famous in the South Hills for his annual rides along the Brentwood Fourth of July parade route.

The book, which can be purchased on Amazon for $5.50, chronicles Slowik’s life alongside his trusty companion, who he talked to like a best friend.

Slowik, who had a pony as child, has always loved horses.

He remembers dressing up and riding a pony when he was little. He had his picture taken on the pony — that led to him begging his dad to buy him one.

But, all of that’s for another book he’s in the process of writing, called, “Ponies, Horses and Me.”

Slowik first met Rebel when his cousin purchased the half-Arabian, half-American quarter horse, born in 1962, for his own children. It was named Golden Nugget on its birth certificate, but garnered the nickname “Rebel” because it was a little rowdy.

Slowik watched the horse ride across the field once and knew he had to have it. He bought two-year-old Rebel from his cousin.

“That’s the greatest thing I ever did,” he said. “I said, ‘He’s for me.’”

Slowik rode Rebel every day for more than 20 years. The two spent most of their time riding every inch of South Park.

During their journeys, Slowik taught Rebel commands by saying them out loud in English.

The horse learned quick.

“I would take him up to a telephone pole and he touched his nose to the pole and I would say, ‘Go!’ and he would go as far up the pole as he could and stay there,” Slowik said, laughing.

For 25 years, Slowik and Rebel marched in the Brentwood Fourth of July parade, usually behind a drum and bugle corps. Rebel always put on a show, dancing to the music and standing on his hind legs.

Rebel lived to be 36 years old. He died in 1998.

Slowik never was able to buy another horse, and he hasn’t ridden since he was 82.

“It was like I lost a brother,” he said, choking back tears. “We became such close buddies.”

Slowik still attends horse shows, which he used to do with Rebel. It was there people encouraged him to write down his memories of his beloved horse.

So, he did. He sat down at a table in his game room and wrote out the book by hand. His son-in-law was able to do the rest.

A large picture of Rebel still is displayed in Slowik’s living room.

Slowik’s wife, Joanne, says the relationship her husband shared with Rebel was special.

“The horse seemed to do anything he told it to,” she said. “In the book, he tells it just like it was.”

Slowik never planned to become an author, especially not at 86. But he wanted to write a tribute to Rebel.

“He was perfect. He did everything perfect,” he said, repeating the quote with which he ends the book. Rebel, he said, was the “star performer. I just went along for the ride!”

Stephanie Hacke is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me