Friday, April 9, 2010

My Incredible Journey - Part 1

Like I said earlier in the week, April 16 (next Friday) marks the third anniversary of the death of a very special friend of mine. Because of that, I've decided to spread a series of posts throughout this week in his honor. Writing about this subject is something that has been historically hard for me to do, but the story is one that I would love to share with all of you.


I began horseback riding in 2000. After toying with the idea for quite some time, we finally went to a riding stable to inquire in August of that year. About a month later, I was finally sitting six feet in the air, on top of the most gentle, dead-broke school horse in the barn, a mare named Lady.

For that year, I continued riding that horse, learning some of the basics of horse care along the way. However, one afternoon in June 2001, my mother made a call for me to have another riding lesson, and was met with the words "Lady is sick."

I didn't know the gravity of her illness then (botulism), nor could my ten-year-old mind really comprehend that she was going to die. Sure enough, that's what happened, and on the morning on July 4, she was euthanized.

I remember writing in my journal that I didn't think I could ever love a horse again. I was devastated; I am, characteristically, fiercely loyal to those who are close to me, so the fact that I was going to start having to ride a different horse was something I took as a blow.

I did not return to the stable until my birthday - July 23. A friend of mine had to pick something or someone up, and I was invited along for the ride.

I can still remember it like it was yesterday - walking around that barn, looking back at all the big, brown eyes that were staring at me, but feeling a certain emptiness. Lady was not there. In my horse experiences up until that point, she was all I had known, and it was hard to swallow.

Then, as if by magic, I took a turn in to a rather secluded area of the barn that housed but three horses. I could see one horse peering out over the stall guard (ropes, basically, that keep them inside the stall without having to use a door), his face with a white blaze down the front that reminded me of Lady's. I knew it couldn't be her, but I went over to him, anyway.

Taco, circa 1994

I went over to him, talked to him, and petted him. His name was Taco; he was the thirty-five year old boarder horse who every one knew, but no one really bothered with. I stood there for a long while with him, until the party I had come to the barn with discovered me and told me it was time to leave.

I rode the whole way home in the car thinking about him. Little did I know that those first few moments on my eleventh birthday would be the start of something that I couldn't have imagined even in my wildest dreams.

stay tuned for Part 2...


BlackDog's Photographer April 9, 2010 at 11:53 AM  

Love horses and am looking forward to part 2. ;)

Cyndi and Stumpy April 9, 2010 at 11:56 AM  

Oh! Now that is just NOT fair! Ya gotta give us more than that!

On the other hand...theres nothing like an oldie...whether it's human, a dog, horse, cat, whatever... the elders can embed themsleves in your heart like no other, if given half a chance!

Can't wait for more!

Chris and Ricky April 9, 2010 at 12:27 PM  

Yep, we love horses too and are glad you are sharing this story!

AC April 9, 2010 at 1:23 PM  

I've always had that romantic draw to horses, but when I'm close to them, their size and strength makes me nervous. I'd probably learn to relax if I spent more time around them. I still love to hear other's experiences with them.

I'm really glad you're sharing this story and can't wait for part two!

Anna the GSD April 9, 2010 at 2:02 PM  

This looks like it's going to be a wonderful story...can't wait for part II!

houndstooth April 9, 2010 at 2:12 PM  

He was a good looking horse! I grew up with them myself.

Amy / Layla the Malamute April 9, 2010 at 2:26 PM  

What a beautiful horse!

I love horses, but never really had the opportunity to spend a lot of time around them. I'd have loved to have been able to. Maybe one day.

I can't wait to read the rest of the story. You definitely know how to build suspense!

Frankie Furter and Ernie April 9, 2010 at 2:27 PM  

Love horses. I can see 4 of them from my thicket. They look little until... we drive down the road and I see them up close.. Whew.
My sister Lori had a Quarter horse when she was 10 years old. That wonderful horse actually saved her life once. She had Toni for 4 years. She says they were the best years of her life.
My family's furst dachshund (Patty Cake) used to ride Toni too!!
Thanks for sharing your furends and your love for the BIG ONES!

Maureen April 9, 2010 at 2:59 PM  

Part one has me a bit misty eyed already...

Sue April 9, 2010 at 4:09 PM  

I know about Taco and I'm waiting to hear some more.

kissa-bull April 9, 2010 at 4:18 PM  

oh my dog
i am itching for the rest
i so love horses dearly and cant even watch movies that i think might end up with them dying
im way too emotional when it comes to animals that way
weirdo i know
anywho im so loving this story and will wait anxiously for the second part

Sara April 9, 2010 at 4:48 PM  

You should have warned us it was a cliffhanger!

The Army of Four April 9, 2010 at 5:51 PM  

Thank you for sharing such a special story with us! We can't wait to hear everything!
Tail wags,

the teacher's pets April 9, 2010 at 7:00 PM  

What a heartwarming story and I'm glad you shared it with us! It's so hard to talk about the ones who have passed on, isn't it? I've lost so many pets to various illnesses througout the years and it still hurts to think of them.

On a lighter note, would you like to enter your name in the Personalized Pet Portrait Giveaway? Come on over & check out the details!

LauraK April 9, 2010 at 9:12 PM  

Love the post :) Can't wait to hear part 2! Horses are a major passion of mine, and I love hearing about them!

Hey, do you mind doing me a favor? I think I'm going to set my blog to private (due to harassment from my switch of training facilities- so immature!) or just stop blogging all together- which I really don't want to do. In order to go private, I have to enter people's email addresses (allowing them permission to read our blog). So, can I have your email address, and have you tell me how difficult/easy it is to read my blog after the change? It would help me out greatly, but if you don't want to, I completely understand. My personal email address is if you just want to send it there. I wish blogger had a way to privately message people, that would make life a lot easier :) Then, everybody wouldn't have to listen to my ramblings! Thanks a bunch Sam!

NAK and The Residents of The Khottage Now With KhattleDog! April 9, 2010 at 9:16 PM  

We'll be looking furward to reading more!

PeeEssWoo: Isn't nice to have Spring bakhk!?!

Two French Bulldogs April 9, 2010 at 9:57 PM  

Those big horses are A-O.K..that you for sharing that great story
Benny & Lily

Lorenza April 9, 2010 at 10:51 PM  

Thanks for sharing this first part of the story!
I will be waiting for the next chapter!
Kisses and hugs

BRUTUS April 10, 2010 at 8:55 AM  

Reading your post makes me miss all my old equine buddies. Gosh, I haven't ridden in almost 2 years, so hard to believe. So many fond memories I have of my barn days - good friends, late night trips to give medicine or change wraps, getting up in the wee hours to go and braid before a show... Ahh... Gee, maybe now I'll have to dig out some old photos and so a post!


Kathy Mocharnuk April 10, 2010 at 6:32 PM  

My best friend in the whole world was my horse Snips. I had him in some really hard times of my life, and boy I know how strong the bond can be. I can not wait to hear part 2...

Kari in Alaska April 11, 2010 at 3:02 PM  

Taco looks like a beautiful horse, glad i get to go on right now to read part two since I hate suspense :)

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