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Saturday, February 5, 2011

Stormy and me

When I was about 10 I told my parents that all I wanted for Christmas was a horse. Just a horse mom and dad. We have a farm I pleaded, we have all kinds of grass! Impatiently I waited but December 25 came and went without the treasured equine. Another Christmas, birthday, Christmas came and went with no filly in sight. On my twelfth birthday my parents finally gave in and I was taken to a nearby farm to look at a few horses that were for sale. Finally, my dream was coming true . . .

We arrived at the farm, parked the car and met with a man in cowboy boots and hat. He sauntered up to us with a big bright grin. He gave us a tour that included his two handsome stallions, a few ponies and some brood mares. Finally we came to the enclosure where my future best friend was housed. Inside the pen were three horses. The large dapple and muscular gray gelding was named Joe. He strode around the corral, confident and sure-footed. Next was a blood bay gelding by the name of Chips. Chips was a 16 1/2 hand leggy horse with a big white stripe down his face. Unlike Joe, Chips was anything but graceful. His stumbling and clumsy gait almost made him comical in appearance. I watched the two geldings as they moved around the enclosure until my eye fell on the third horse. The little mare was standing in the corner of the corral, near the lean to watching the geldings. Her brown coat shown in the summer sun. Large eyes flashed with curiosity and intelligence. I was mesmerized. Shyly I asked Mr. Cowboy Boots what her name could be. Stormy he replied. He continued to explain to us that Stormy got her name because she was born on a dark, rainy night. I could not take my eyes off of Stormy, the geldings ceased to exist in my mind. Mr. Cowboy Boots talked and talked with my parents. Then came decision time. Stormy, I declared and $150 passed from my father's hand to the owner.

It was a few weeks before I could have Stormy due to the fact that she was only halter broken and needed to learn to tolerate a rider. After training I was allowed to come to the farm and learned all I needed to know to ride and care for Stormy. I could hardly wait for the big day! The day was approaching but I would be at school during the scheduled arrival time. Oh the day seemed to last forever.

I came running to the barn and stopped dead in my tracks. Here was my beautiful little mare lying on the grass with a fresh cut on her head. I could hardly stand to hear the story from Mr. Cowboy Boots on how Stormy had fought being loaded into the horse trailer. She fought then reared, her head slamming into the roof of the trailer. Finally, while dazed, she loaded and made the trip to our farm. My mother had called the vet who had come and gone. Nothing serious he told my mom but the vet cautioned us to keep an eye on her.

Tears welled up in my eyes as I opened the gate and gingerly approached my motionless little horse. Stormy lifted her head and looked in my direction then slowly dropped her head again to the soft green grass. The warmth of the sun enveloped me as I knelt down beside Stormy. I rolled over, put my head on her side and Stormy and I napped in the early September afternoon sun.

What seemed like a dream was broken by the sound of my mother calling me to dinner. I sat up and wiped the sleep from my eyes. Suddenly I was aware that a soft muzzle was on my shoulder. I looked over into Stormy's eyes and she gave a soft, low whinny and nudged me again with her nose. As I rose to go up to the house, Stormy rose to her feet and began to nibble on the lush grasses. I had a feeling then that all would be okay. From then on it would be Stormy and me, always.

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