Jun 27, 2008

My Dream Horse

Windy was born May 26, 2002. Her dam was John’s grade mare, Ginger and her sire was my friend's Pitzer bred stud, Watch Creek Starr. I was so new into horses that I didn’t realize this wasn’t the smart thing to do – to breed a grade mare that could never have a foal registered. I was just excited to have a foal from our good mare!

Windy was named appropriately, as she hit the ground on a very windy day! I recall looking out to the corral, not expecting her for a few weeks, and seeing a cute, bay foal barely standing in the wind; born among the herd. Unlike the other foals born here that year, she was friendly from the get-go and easy to handle. I do, however, recall she left a pretty hoof mark bruise on my thigh one day when she was in play and I didn’t dodge her fast enough!

This was in the day when we had “too many horses.” And we did. I was trying to calm an irritated husband by downsizing, when a friend of a friend offered to buy Windy. It was after the first of the year, I recall, so I guess she was a yearling, but not yet weaned. We met the new owner & rode for a bit, Windy trailing behind Ginger. When it was time to leave, Ginger was loaded in our trailer & Windy in another; being sent to her new home. My heart was broken; I hated to even look in Ginger’s eyes.

I never saw Windy again until the fall of her two-year-old year. I was in awe of how beautifully she had grown up; even thought about offering to trade Gunner for her, my colt by the same sire who was the same age. My heart still ached. At this time, the kids were riding Blue and Mikey. I’d sold Maxi, I’d sold Purdy, I’d sold Bo, and Gunner wasn’t broke. The old mare, Daisy, was just that -- too old. I was in need of a horse. But I wanted a trained horse. An easy horse. Windy had barely been started! And she wasn't for sale that I knew of. It wasn't long after when a friend offered to sell me her appaloosa gelding they weren't using anymore. Jo was trained and of a good age. He seemed to be what I was looking for and came to live with us.

I think choosing a horse is like choosing a friend or a husband. You have to mesh with the horse; have to want to be with the horse. You have to feel a bond. I’m not sure how that bond comes about – but you know when it’s there and you know when it not. No matter how hard I tried, I did not have that bond with Jo. It felt too much like an arranged marriage. When another friend was looking to lease a horse that rides and drives, I offered Jo to her.

It was an emotional day when she came to get Jo and it had nothing to do with him. I remember standing at the barn on crutches, my foot in a cast from an accident the previous weekend. My heart was once again broken as we had just lost Gunner in a pasture accident a few days prior. I assured my friend the loss of Gunner didn’t change the lease agreement. I told her I was still "looking for my dream horse” and Jo wasn’t it. I didn’t know then how close I was to finding her.

A few weeks later I saw Windy on the trails. Although in the same group of friends, she was owned by someone else. I watched her. I sat on her. I took pictures of her next to Ginger. I wanted her back. And it wasn't long before I got the phone call that she was for sale and I was given the first opportunity to buy her back. I had to have her back.

She originally came back to us as “John’s horse” – a “wifely manipulation” to hasten the sale, but in my heart of hearts, she was mine. Years ago, John had given me the title to his MG convertible as a birthday present. A few weeks after Windy was safely in my pasture, I offered John the car title back in exchange for Windy. He easily agreed. It wouldn’t have been necessary -- he knew... And now I knew MY horse would never be sold again.

As that summer progressed, my cast was off my ankle and I was riding again. Windy wasn’t an easy horse. I’d never had a mare as my primary horse before & she brought along a little attitude that was unlike any horse I rode before. Not scary, really. She was sassy, a bit uppity, but also showed me a lot of warmth. The old saying “you have to discuss it with a mare” was evident. There were a lot of “discussions” and challenges. But I was eager to trudge on. Actually, I decided my horse buying days were over and money would be spent making her the horse I wanted. I engaged in the help of a trainer to bring her to another level. Riding lessons helped me get there as well. Together, we progressed.

This is our 4th year on the trail together. As in any relationship, we’ve had what seemed like hours of frustration and moments of elation! She can be lazy and moody one minute and then show spirit and courage the next. She can be high maintenance and a bit of a princess. I’ve loved her and hated her at the same time. I have forgiven her things that I wouldn't have a better or lesser horse. I have given her an education as she has given me. I have hugged her neck in excitement and wiped tears in that same mane. And we have shared more time together and traveled more trails together than any other horse I have ever owned. We have come together as a team and share trust and respect. I finally found my dream horse, my friend. And she was mine from the start.

~Written June 2008


  1. You have a beautiful talent with words - making the reader feel the joy and pain with you.

    Your tribute to Gunner was incredible... you should publish.

  2. Anonymous12:00 PM

    Beautiful, TV. Like I told you a while back... you have become one with her.


  3. How lucky for you both to have come full circle.

  4. what a wonderful story! i am so happy the two of you ended up together - it seems like fate. i wish you both the best :-)

  5. Tammy, that is amazing. Yes, it reminds me a lot of my story about Lowdown! I didn't breed him but I had him from the time he was 20 months old. I have some of his baby teeth for God's sake! And now he's back, like your windy. Isn't it wild?

    I actually have a special bond with a second horse. My headshaker Harley. He's the one I kept because I was worried he'd be at risk and so I sold Lowdown instead. Now I have both of them!

    I had to crack up over the part where you manipulated your husband and called her his horse. Too funny. I sure do wish we lived near each other. We'd be the best of friends. That is something right up my alley.

  6. Oh Tammy, that was the most engaging post> about true love!
    I am soo happy Windy came home to your heart!

    I did not choose My mare... circumstances choose us to be together and I love her so much...she can get me fit to be ties sometimes, but I am learning to not seat it now..not take it personal, like I used to. I have had to learn with her all the lessons...she has been pretty patient with me.


  7. What a beautiful post - thanks for linking me to it! What a dream come true to get her back, and what a fun journey yall are on. :)

  8. Tammy, Four years ago you left a link on my site to this story. You had just read how wonderful Royal had come into my life while I still grieved over the loss of Ebony after 25 years together.

    Now, four years later, I've finally opened up my blog, again. I saw your message and have just finished reading your wonderful, beautiful story about Windy. It gave me both tears and chills. Horses do that to us. I'm so happy about the perfect ending. And ... so happy to be connected to your enjoyable blog.

    1. Welcome back to blogging and I am so glad you have Royal in your life. And thank you for the kind words. Today I finished a week long ride on Windy and we reached our 1,000th mile in this year's Distance Derby. I took her bridle off and laid my face next to hers. It was MY goal but she took me there. I am so grateful to have such a willing partner. I hope you are now finding it with Royal and look forward to following your blog again.

    2. I would like to follow your blog, Strawberry Lane-- how do I sign up? I am also a NE transplant to CA!


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