I used to be horse crazy…I mean really horse crazy. When I was a little girl, it’s all I thought about. I asked for a horse for every birthday, every Christmas…and I wanted horse-related books, magazines, figures etc. The answer was always the same…you won’t take care of a horse, you’ll get tired of it, it’s too expensive etc. etc. As I approached middle school, I had pretty much given up on the idea that I’d ever have a horse. Then one day, a classmate in my school had a horse for sale that another friend had heard about. By this time, I was driving and had a part-time job at a steakhouse. I went to visit the horse and even started to ride her. She was amazing; gentle, friendly, calm, and easy to ride. I had found the perfect horse for me; a beginner (the price tag was $600 and that included all tack and equipment). It was too good to be true. Now I just had to convince my parents!
After much begging and debate, the answer was no. I promised to pay them back and take care of all the expenses, including building a fence and a stall on our 2 acres of land (not much room for a horse, but I was determined to make it work). I lost the battle. I was devastated as I’d grown quite attached to “Muffy” (yes, that was her name!). I went into my room and packed up all of my horse-related collectibles into boxes and started hauling them to the basement. I didn’t want them anymore. My Dad came into my room as I was crying and packing and said “ok fine, you can get the horse. BUT, you have to pay me back and I better not have to end up taking care of her”. I could not believe this was happening! It was November, just after my 17th birthday. On Thanksgiving day (a very cold day), my dad, Uncle and myself got busy putting up a fence on 1/2 acre and Dad built me the cutest little free-standing stall for her. There wasn’t running water, so we connected several hoses from the house so that it would be easy on me to keep her watered. He gave up some room in his tool shed for my tack box and feed bins. By the end of November, Muffy came to live with us. It was one of the best days of my life. She was 12 years old at that time.
I had the best senior year learning how to be a horse owner. Then it was time to start college. I didn’t go away, I commuted about 30 minutes away, so I was still able to care for her while I commuted back and forth (1985-87). Then came the hard part. I got a job in Columbus and had to move. I hated leaving Muffy behind, but my Dad agreed to take care of her until we could figure something out. I went home on the weekends to see her and this went on from 1987 to about 1989) and then she went to board with a local farmer for a year when I had my first baby and then with a family up the road while I had my second and bought a house in the country. By this time, I was attending nursing school (1989-1994) and owning a horse was next to impossible. Even though I didn’t have time to be a horse owner anymore, there was no way I was going to give her up. She was in good hands with the boarding family and they loved her. She was gem. She loved children too and anyone could ride her. She was the most bomb-proof horse ever so I was comfortable leaving her in another family’s hands for awhile. I visited and rode her every chance I could, which was very little sadly.
Finally, we built a house on 7 acres, a pasture and a barn and Muffy came to live with me (1995). We finally had access to land and trails and fields and I could ride her anytime I wanted. She was now 25 years old and healthy as a well…a horse!
Then one day, it happened. The day that I was worried about for so long. I could not believe how long she was living and how vital and lively she always was. Come the year 2000, she was 30 years old and I’d owned her for 18 of them! It was a spring/summer day. I went out to feed her and found her lying on the ground. This was not unusual, she did it all the time. She loved to lay in the sun and roll around. She looked at me and this time, she didn’t get up like she usually did. I managed to get her to get up after some persistent trying and she was so weak and seemed so tired. I called the vet and he came right away. He examined her and told me that she was in alot of pain and would not make it through the night. I will never forget that day. I opted to let the vet put her down right then so she didn’t have to suffer.
Oh…and for the record, I did pay my Dad back that $600. It wasn’t until I was about 30 years old, but I did pay him :o) He never once asked me for it either. But as you can see, that’s the kind of man he was. I still cannot believe that it’s been 16 years since Muffy passed away. I bought and sold a few other horses, but it was never the same. Muffy (and Henry, a little shetland pony that I had bought for my kids) were the last horses I ever owned and I am at peace with that. Great memories, great experience. (photos 1985).